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Big Tech’s Ultimatum to Conservative Media: Self-Censor or Suffocate

Big Tech’s Ultimatum to Conservative Media: Self-Censor or Suffocate

(NOQReport) – Google, Facebook, and Twitter are often the top three traffic sources for conservative news sites. This is ironic because these three Big Tech companies are well known to despise conservatives, but in their efforts to “play fair” and maintain their appearance as unbiased “platforms” they have tolerated most conservatives for years. Things have changed, but they need to keep some token rightwing sites in the mix. So, they’re reaching out. Quietly.

The conversations surround basic ground rules regarding reporting on certain topics. The ones that are forbidden are the theft of the 2020 presidential election, certain criticisms of Black Lives Matter, and most importantly the big one: Vaccine hesitancy. There were also two people who were listed as topics of which to “tread carefully,” which I found exceedingly odd. Apparently, George Soros and Bill Gates are considered “conspiracy fodder” and conservative news outlets should avoid spreading “false” rumors about them, according to the Big Tech overlords. This one was a head-scratcher for me until I remembered how one particular Big Tech site stopped allowing our stories last year shortly after we ran a couple of pieces critical of Gates.

A whistleblower from one of the biggest conservative news sites first told me about the conversations. I started hitting up every contact at other conservative outlets I had. We reached out to publishers, editors, senior writers, and at least one major conservative media sponsor asking them all to confirm the story, on or off the record. Oddly, few replied, which in itself is very telling. If they hadn’t heard of anything, they’d certainly want to learn more since it’s a pretty big story. Journalists aren’t known to not inquire when news like this is presented to them.

Important Note: For the sake of protecting my sources, I must remain ambiguous about which Big Tech companies are reaching out as well as when the conversations happened. It would not behoove my sources’ anonymity to publish a story the day-of their conversation and note which company they spoke with. Considering how relatively small the conservative media space is, it wouldn’t take Holmesian deductive reasoning for my sources to be outed. Here is what I can say:

Multiple conservative news outlet with over 5,000,000 monthly website visitors were contacted Multiple Big Tech companies are reaching out to publishers and editors of these conservative sites The conversations have happened this year Despite the cold shoulder from most of my contacts, two of them confirmed what the first anonymous whistleblower told me. The details were strikingly similar even though more than one Big Tech company had initiated the conversations. One of the confirming sources said any conservative sites with a sufficiently large audience were contacted and you could see the change in their reporting that has happened as a result.

Before I get into the repercussions of this and what it means to conservatives across the country, let’s do a quick recap for clarity. Big Tech companies are reaching out to high-level people at large conservative news outlets to tell them if they want to continue to receive traffic, they will need to avoid certain taboo topics. They are also being told that their ability to advertise and receive money from ads on their sites is contingent on this self-censoring. Needless to say, we do not have ads from these companies on our site.

Now, what are the repercussions from this? They should be pretty obvious. First and foremost, the news and opinions you expect from these sites are being curtailed. And if you think you’re not interested the topics that are being censored, consider this: If they are getting away with stopping these particular “wrongthink” topics, then it’s eventually going to spread to topics that interest you.

If you don’t believe there was massive, widespread voter fraud that changed the results of the 2020 presidential election, then these Big Tech companies are with you. If you question whether or not Black Lives Matter is a Neo-Marxist group, then these Big Tech sites appreciate your support. And if you are pro-Covid-vaccines, then these Big Tech sites adore you.

Keep in mind, I do not hold ill-will to any of the millions of conservatives who feel this way about voter fraud, BLM, or vaccines. I had a conversation today with a very conscientious conservative who happens to be vaxxed AND questions the severity of voter fraud. As far as I know, we’re still friends. One of the greatest strengths of conservatives is that we’re not automatons or collectivists. We generally respect that others might not perfectly align with our worldview, and that’s okay. As long as conservatives are heading in the same basic direction of limiting government and increasing freedom, the details are far less important.

Another repercussion from this development is that many conservative news sites are beholden to Big Tech. It’s not just about self-censorship. It’s about audience control, narrative direction, and a newfound unwillingness to call out these companies for their many evils. Once self-censorship starts, it’s in the back of the minds of publishers, editors, and writers whenever they come across a story that they should cover but that may go too far in exposing Big Tech. That’s a very bad thing for conservative news consumers.

One of my sources said the Big Tech company that spoke to her asked about three of the news aggregators and whether there was a way to “get the message” to them. The Liberty Daily , Populist Press , and Revolver News are apparently considered major adversaries in the eyes of Big Tech. All three tend to send conservative readers to stories about the forbidden topics.

Those three sites, along with Conservative Playlist and Uncanceled News which NOQ Report officially acquired this week, should be bookmarked by every patriotic American interested in hearing the truth.

The conundrum for many conservatives is finding appropriate alternatives to Big Tech. We’re still bullish on Gab even if my reach there is tiny compared to Twitter . We use DuckDuckGo instead of Google for search. I’m rarely on Facebook except to post stories through a separate app. But I’m also aware that there are still millions of conservatives who use Big Tech multiple times per day. It’s easy to just say, “Stop!” It’s harder for many to break away, but eventually it needs to happen.

There is a steadily growing gap between the mainstream conservative news outlets beholden to Big Tech and “fringe” conservative sites who have the gall to discuss voter fraud or vaccines. Patriots need to discern the motivations their news sources hold dearest.

Since it’s pretty obvious that Facebook is one of the Big Tech sites reaching out based on what we’ve heard about them lately, I’ve included two stories below that detail how involved the biggest social media company of America is in trying to dictate what we think. I strongly encourage everyone to read these articles and share them because they give credence to what we’re experiencing behind the scenes in conservative media.

How Facebook Uses ‘Fact-Checking’ to Suppress Scientific Truth

Article by John Tierney from NY Post .

At the end of a recent 800-meter race in Oregon, a high-school runner named Maggie Williams got dizzy, passed out and landed face-first just beyond the finish line. She and her coach blamed her collapse on a deficit of oxygen due to the mask she’d been forced to wear, and state officials responded to the public outcry by easing their requirements for masks during athletic events.

But long before the pandemic began, scientists had repeatedly found that wearing a mask could lead to oxygen deprivation. Why had this risk been ignored?

One reason is that a new breed of censors has been stifling scientific debate about masks on social-media platforms. When Scott Atlas, a member of the Trump White House’s coronavirus task force, questioned the efficacy of masks last year, Twitter removed his tweet. When eminent scientists from Stanford and Harvard recently told Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis that children should not be forced to wear masks, YouTube removed their video discussion from its platform. These acts of censorship were widely denounced, but the social-media science police remain undeterred, as I discovered when I recently wrote about the harms to children from wearing masks.

Facebook promptly slapped a label on the article: “Partly False Information. Checked by independent fact-checkers.” City Journal appealed the ruling, a process that turned out to be both futile and revealing. Facebook refused to remove the label, which still appears whenever the article is shared, but at least we got an inside look at the tactics that social-media companies and progressive groups use to distort science and public policy.

The “independent fact-checkers” of my article are affiliated with a nonprofit group called Science Feedback, which has partnered with Facebook in what it calls a “fight against misinformation.” The group describes itself as “nonpartisan,” a claim that I would label “Mostly False” after studying dozens of its fact-checks enforcing progressive orthodoxy on climate change and public health. I didn’t see anything that would have displeased the journalists and officials promoting lockdowns and mask mandates. Nor did I see anything that would have displeased a Democrat, particularly during the last presidential campaign. In October, when former President Donald Trump was predicting that a vaccine was imminent, the group labeled that prediction “Inaccurate” and proclaimed that “widespread Covid-19 vaccination is not expected before mid-2021.” (Fact check: The vaccine rollout began in December .)

My article was flagged because it cited a study by a team of researchers in Germany who established an online registry for thousands of parents to report on the impact of masks on their children. More than half of those who responded said that masks were giving their children headaches and making it difficult for them to concentrate. More than a third cited other problems, including malaise, impaired learning, drowsiness and fatigue.

The study passed peer review at a medical journal, Monthly Pediatrics, but it didn’t satisfy Facebook’s fact-checkers. Science Feedback labeled the study “Unsupported” on the grounds that it “cannot demonstrate a causal relationship between mask-wearing and these effects in children, due to limitations in its design.” The critique listed various limitations: The parents who responded to the registry were a self-selected sample; the parents couldn’t be sure if their children’s problems were due to masks or to something else; there was no control group of children who didn’t wear masks.

This is the same tactic used by the tobacco industry last century when epidemiologists observed high rates of lung cancer among people who reported a history of heavy smoking. The industry harped on the limitations of the studies – like their reliance on people’s self-reported history of smoking – and insisted that there was no proof that smoking caused cancer because no one had done a sufficiently rigorous controlled study.

Any study can be faulted for methodological shortcomings, but that doesn’t mean its results should be ignored or suppressed, particularly when the findings are consistent with a large body of evidence from other researchers. The mask problems reported by the German parents had been observed in dozens of previous experiments and observational studies, as another team of German researchers recently noted in a peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

After reviewing 65 scientific papers – original studies, literature reviews and meta-analyses – the researchers concluded there was statistically significant evidence of what they termed “Mask-Induced Exhaustion Syndrome.” This syndrome includes various physiological changes and subjective complaints: decrease in blood oxygen saturation; increase in blood carbon dioxide; increase in heart and respiratory rates; difficulty breathing; dizziness; headache; drowsiness; and decreased ability to concentrate and think. These risks were so well-known, the researchers noted, that many countries have occupational safety regulations limiting usage of masks. Germany, for instance, requires workers to take a half-hour break after wearing a cloth mask for two hours.

The fact-checkers at Science Feedback ignored all this evidence in reaching their conclusion that the German parents’ study was “unsupported and misleading.” Even worse, they themselves promoted a claim contradicted not only by the evidence, but also by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, which recommend against masks for children aged five and under because of concerns about safety.

The fact-checkers summarized their critique of the German study in a highlighted box labeled “Key Take Away,” which began, “Masks are safe for children over the age of two years to wear, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.” This pediatric association, known for its advocacy of progressive causes like allowing transgender youths to play in girls’ sports, had made that assertion on its Web site along with other questionable statements, like its advice to young athletes to wear a face mask during both training and competition. (Tell that to Maggie Williams and her coach.)

Why was this group’s opinion the “Key Take Away” regarding the safety of masks? It was grossly irresponsible – worse than “unsupported and misleading” – for the fact-checkers to ignore the peer-reviewed scientific literature in favor of evidence-free statements from a professional association.

When City Journal appealed Facebook’s “Partly False” label on my article, we pointed out that that there was nothing false in either my article or the study of German parents. In their paper, the German researchers explicitly acknowledged the limitations of their findings, noting that the children’s problems had been diagnosed not by doctors, but by a self-selected sample of parents. I noted these caveats, too, writing that the problems were reported by “parents who chose to respond” and reinforcing that point by adding, “not a random sample, obviously.” We also noted in our appeal to Facebook that the fact-checkers at Science Feedback had ignored scientific evidence in offering false reassurances about the safety of masks.

Facebook apparently made no effort to bring in a neutral arbiter for this appeal. It let Science Feedback be the final judge of its own fact-checking. We were notified by Science Feedback that its team had rejected our appeal, and the team’s justification was a blend of obfuscation and inaccuracies that would have been flagged by a competent editor or fact-checker.

“By stating that ‘the masks were giving their children health problems,’ your report gives readers the false impression that mask-wearing was identified as the cause of their problems,” the team wrote, deceptively omitting the first part of my sentence, which clearly stated that it was parents who blamed these problems on masks. What false impression did I give readers? Maybe Science Feedback wants to believe that these more than 10,000 parents were all mistaken about the cause of their children’s problems, but I didn’t misrepresent what the parents said.

The Science Feedback team also told us, “Your article fails to offer evidence demonstrating that there have been ‘many complications from masks that other researchers have identified.’ ” That is entirely false. My article described a variety of physical, psychological and social complications, and cited supporting evidence from two medical journals, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a court ruling in Germany and a lengthy article in City Journal on the scientific debate over masks. Science Feedback may prefer to believe that there are no complications from wearing masks, but it can’t truthfully say that I failed to produce contrary evidence.

The fact-checkers’ final justification for their decision was my description of a study analyzing the spread of COVID from schools during last spring’s outbreak in Sweden. It was done by economists at the universities of Stockholm and Uppsala who had access to the medical records of the entire country’s population. They compared the parents of senior-high-school students, who switched to online instruction, against those with younger students who kept going to school and did not wear masks in the classroom. There was little difference in the rates of COVID infections and serious cases. These results jibe with other evidence that schoolchildren are not significant spreaders of the virus, and also with evidence that places without mask mandates have fared no worse than places with the mandates. One could hardly ask for a more rigorous and thorough study: a nationwide natural experiment involving hundreds of thousands of parents.

But it wasn’t good enough for the fact-checkers at Science Feedback, who wrote: “Your article’s claim that ‘None of the children who kept going to school died of COVID’ and ‘The parents whose children kept going to school were slightly more likely to test positive for Covid, but no more likely to be treated or hospitalized for it’ rests on flawed reasoning. This makes it seem as if mask-wearing is implemented primarily to protect kids or parents from dying or getting hospitalized. But in reality it is used to limit the spread of the disease in the population, control the epidemic, and prevent the death of individuals at risk.”

To the extent that I can make any sense of this objection, it seems that the fact-checkers at Science Feedback believe that the unmasked schoolchildren were infecting large numbers of Swedish adults while miraculously leaving their own parents unscathed. And I’m the one guilty of “flawed reasoning”?

We gave up arguing with Facebook. The Science Feedback team never did identify an inaccurate fact in the article, but this exercise obviously wasn’t about accuracy. The fact-checkers were actually fact-blockers. Once it puts a warning label on a story, Facebook says that its News Feed algorithm “significantly reduces the number of people who see it,” and the platform can inflict further punishment by limiting distribution of other stories from that website and preventing it from advertising. The fact-blockers don’t even have to pretend to find an error. They can smear a journalist and blacklist a story by affixing a vague label like “Misleading” or “Missing Context.”

Veteran television journalist John Stossel, who has written about the egregious tactics used to suppress his environmental reporting, says that Science Feedback’s unwarranted labels have had a lasting effect on the size of his audience at Facebook, costing him millions of viewers of his weekly videos. The Wall Street Journal, responding to a spurious “Missing Context” label on an op-ed article about herd immunity, concluded that Science Feedback is engaging in “counter-opinion masquerading as fact checking.”

Facebook enjoys immunity from legal liability because it claims to be a tech platform for others’ content, not a journalistic enterprise, but it and Science Feedback are acting like a publisher. They endorse sweeping claims for the efficacy and necessity of mask mandates and lockdowns – no need to quibble about the methodological flaws of that evidence – while making up excuses to suppress contrary findings. Instead of encouraging debate about the harms and benefits of these policies, they work to conceal the harms and pretend there is no scientific debate about the benefits.

Unfortunately, these tactics seem to be succeeding. Oregon’s young athletes may have gotten a reprieve from the mask mandate, but many others aren’t so lucky. They’re still wearing masks as they sprint down soccer fields. Little Leaguers still wear masks as they stand alone in the outfield. Four-year-olds still wear masks on the playground, and vaccinated teachers still teach classes of masked students. Facebook and Science Feedback are using their “fight against misinformation” as a weapon to spread their own version of it.

John Tierney is a contributing editor of City Journal , from which this column was adapted .

Bombshell Video, Leaked Documents Detail How Facebook Censors Vaccine Facts When They Don’t Fit CDC, Big Pharma Narrative

Article by Megan Redshaw at Children’s Health Defense

Investigative journalist James O’Keefe from Project Veritas on Monday released a bombshell video of two Facebook insiders blowing the whistle on the tech giant’s effort to secretly censor – on a global scale – COVID vaccine questions and concerns.

The Facebook whistleblowers alleged the company is pushing an initiative to censor vaccine hesitancy on its platform.

According to new leaked documents , the social media giant uses algorithms to target users who disseminate messaging that runs counter to the company’s political ideology and vaccine narrative – even if the comments are factually accurate.

An internal memo obtained by Project Veritas explained “Vaccine Hesitancy Comment Demotion.” O’Keefe told Sean Hannity on Monday that Facebook initiated a “beta” test for the algorithm that classifies some users under two incremental tiers of what they dub “vaccine hesitancy” or a “VH Score,” and does so without the user’s knowledge.

The stated goal of the new feature is to “drastically reduce user exposure” to “VH” comments, O’Keefe’s team reported , and decrease “other engagement of VH comments including create, likes, reports [and] replies.”

“Based on that VH score, we will demote or leave the comment alone depending on the content within the comment,” an anonymous whistleblower said.

The insider, who is described by O’Keefe as a “data center technician” for Facebook, revealed the tech giant was running the “test” on 1.5% of its 3.8 billion users with the focus on the comments sections on “authoritative health pages.”

“They’re trying to control this content before it even makes it onto your page, before you even see it,” the insider told O’Keefe .

Another leaked document addressed “Borderline Vaccine Framework,” which classifies content with another expressed “goal” to “identify and tier the categories of non-violating content that could discourage vaccination in certain contexts, thereby contributing to vaccine hesitancy or refusal.” The framework states: “We have tiered these by potential harm and how much context is required in order to evaluate harm.”

The ratings are divided into two tiers : “Alarmism & Criticism” and “Indirect Vaccine Discouragement,” which includes celebrating vaccine refusal and “shocking stories” that may deter others from getting vaccinated even if events or facts are potentially or actually true.

The algorithm flags key terms in comments to determine whether or not it can remain in place, but allows human “raters” to make a ruling if the algorithm cannot do so itself.

“What’s remarkable about these private documents that Facebook has not wanted you to see until tonight is that ‘Tier 2’ [violation] says even if the facts are true that you will be targeted and demoted – your comments will be targeted and demoted,” O’Keefe said .

The first whistleblower told O’Keefe that Facebook, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg , wants to “build a community where everyone complies – not where people can have an open discourse and dialogue about the most personal and private and intimate decisions.”

“The narrative [is] get the vaccine , the vaccine is good for you, everyone should get it. If you don’t, you will be singled out as an enemy of society.”

In response to the leaked documents, Facebook told Project Veritas , “We proactively announced this policy on our company blog and also updated our help center with this information.”

O’Keefe, however, said the change in policy has largely been private while Facebook holds itself out as being a free speech town square.

Facebook working with CDC to censor reports of vaccine injury from its own VAERS system

Facebook insiders and leaked internal documents allege the company coordinates with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to censor vaccine content, including reports submitted to the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System ( VAERS ).

“So the VAERS is a Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System. It looks like [Facebook] is measuring the comments where they’re mentioning where, you know, that the patient died,” said the Facebook whistleblower. “Really they [the CDC] support all of this because you know they release the standards, the CDC themselves. And that’s really one of, one of the primary things that Facebook is basing their policy off of.”

Under Facebook’s Borderline Vaccine Framework, content pointing to VAERS data is censored because it suggests “extreme risk without providing context.”

The insider said Facebook is open about the fact they’re coordinating with the CDC.

Ultimately, any facts that don’t fit a particular narrative are omitted, demoted, deboosted, banned or considered dangerous to society, said O’Keefe.

Children’s Health Defense sues Facebook over censorship

In August 2020, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) filed a lawsuit charging Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg and several fact-checking organizations with censoring truthful public health posts and for fraudulently misrepresenting and defaming the children’s health organization.

The complaint alleges Facebook has “insidious conflicts” with the pharmaceutical industry and health agencies, and details factual allegations regarding the CDC, CDC Foundation and the World Health Organization’s extensive relationships and collaborations with Facebook and Zuckerberg, calling into question Facebook’s collaboration with the government in a censorship campaign.

Facebook censors CHD’s page, targeting factual information about vaccines, 5G and public health agencies. Facebook-owned Instagram deplatformed CHD Chairman Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on Feb. 10 without notice or explanation.

Lawyers for Children’s Health Defense are awaiting the ruling of Judge Susan Illston after defendants’ filed a motion to dismiss in the CHD lawsuit alleging government-sponsored censorship, false disparagement and wire fraud.

2021 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.

Image from Sharyl Attkisson .