By Janet Phelan
Articles from mainstream publications and vetted online venues are now apparently being removed from Facebook for simply mentioning the coronavirus.
As of today, Facebook newsroom has a post stating that it is dedicated to providing accurate information to the public about the coronavirus epidemic — Keeping People Safe and Informed About the Coronavirus – About Facebook. In order to do so, Facebook declares, it will be “stopping misinformation and harmful content,” among other virtuous actions.
It appears, however, that Facebook is censoring willy nilly, without any regard to content. Apparently, simply the word “coronavirus” is enough to invoke the censor’s red pencil.
Here are several examples I personally encountered of non-conspiracy oriented articles which were blocked today by the Facebook censorship team. You should take note that the first of these discusses Facebook itself and its efforts to help locate individuals who are at risk for contact with the virus. Hardly a condemnation of the privacy concerns that would of necessity occur in this sort of endeavor, the article from the Seattle Times states that:
…U.S. officials asked whether companies’ vast stores of geolocation data might help epidemiologists find vulnerable populations or identify areas at risk, including hospitals under strain, two people said. In doing so, however, they’ve grappled with a delicate need to protect the private, personal information with the increasingly dire need to protect a nation in the midst of a pandemic.
However, Facebook’s algorithms found it necessary to protect you from this information.
The next article to succumb to Facebook’s attack on information related to the coronavirus was an article in Politico which discusses the Senate’s action yesterday on the surveillance reauthorization bill. This article also mentions the coronavirus in its headline; however, the article focuses on the Senate’s efforts to reach an extension of the PATRIOT Act surveillance provisions in light of the necessity for it to deal with the coronavirus. What’s so dangerous about that?
This article comes from New Atlas, a website which provides article summaries of advancements in science and technology, from a centrist standpoint. Study finds COVID-19 spread in China fueled by “stealth transmission” This article merely discusses a study published in Science, which suggests that a“radical increase” in identification of undocumented cases is vital to slow the spread.” Was it the word “radical” which put this article into the Facebook cemetery, do you think?
Another article, this one from a medical site, orthomolecular.org, suggested that large doses of Vitamin C might help prevent the coronavirus. The article does not submit that vitamin C is a sole “cure” and in fact advises to “treat serious illness seriously. Do not hesitate to seek medical attention. It is not an either-or choice. Vitamin C can be used right along with medicines when they are indicated .” Scary stuff, huh?
It might be warranted to suggest that, given the zeal with which Facebook is wielding its power to block and to censor, that it take a collective deep breath and check its censoring algorithms. Frankly, it is creating more embarrassment for itself than anything else.
Also Read: Team YouTube’s message about their issues with automated content removal HERE.
Also Read from Forbes: Facebook Deleting Coronavirus Posts, Leading To Charges Of Censorship
Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking exposé, EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You are invited to support her work on Buy Me A Coffee here: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JanetPhelan
Image: Anthony Freda Art
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