May 24, 2021, Project Veritas released a video interview1 with two Facebook insider whistleblowers — a data center technician and a data center facility engineer — who have come forward with internal documents showing how the social media platform is suppressing science and medical facts in the name of combating “vaccine hesitancy.”
Facebook recently rolled out a beta test designed to censor negative vaccine information — regardless of its veracity and truthfulness — with the aim of eventually rolling this censorship program in all nations, in as many languages as possible.
The documents prove Facebook is working on behalf of Big Pharma and in coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization to protect and promulgate the false narrative that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for everyone. The platform is even hiding posts in which people who dutifully got the shots talk about their adverse effects.
Vaccine Hesitancy Comment Demotion
According to the internal documents, Facebook is beta testing a new algorithm that classifies users who post counternarrative information about vaccines into “vaccine hesitancy” (VH) tiers. The users are secretly assigned a “VH score” that dictates whether their posts and comments will be removed, demoted or left alone — regardless of whether they’re factually accurate. According to Project Veritas:2
“The insider … 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 [said] …
The stated goal of this feature is to ‘drastically reduce user exposure’ to VH comments. Another aim of the program is to force a ‘decrease in other engagement of VH comments including create, likes, reports [and] replies.’”
Two-Tiered Rating System for Vaccine Content
Vaccine content is rated based on its perceived ability to “discourage vaccination in certain contexts, thereby contributing to vaccine hesitancy or refusal.” According to a “Borderline Vaccine Framework” document, vaccine content is “tiered … by potential harm and how much context is required in order to evaluate harm.” The ratings are divided into three primary tiers:3
- Explicit discouragement of COVID vaccination
- Alarmism, criticism
- Indirect vaccine discouragement — This includes congratulating people who have refused the vaccine, “shocking stories” that may deter people from getting the vaccine, promoting alternatives to vaccination or “suggesting natural immunity is better versus getting the vaccine,” minimizing the risks of natural COVID-19 infection, voicing personal objections to or skepticism about the vaccine, and even “neutral discussion or debate”
Depending on where your comment falls within these tiers, your post or comment will be either removed or “demoted” to varying degrees. As noted by investigative journalist and founder of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, in a Fox News interview:4
“What’s remarkable about these private documents … is that ‘Tier 2’ [violation] says even if the facts are true … you will be targeted and demoted — your comments will be targeted and demoted.”
While it’s unclear who approved this beta test, the listed authors of the “vaccine hesitancy comment demotion” program are senior software engineer Joo Ho Yeo;5 data scientist Nick Gibian6 who, according to LinkedIn, works on health misinformation and civic harassment; software engineer Hendrick Townley, who states his primary interests are in “harnessing technology and technical understanding towards strengthening our democratic institutions and solving pressing policy issues;”7 machine learning and data scientist Amit Bahl;8 and product manager Matt Gilles.9
A New Form of Shadow Banning
The comment demotion strategy that is currently being beta tested is very similar to shadow banning, where a user has been secretly banned — which means none of their followers can actually see their posts — yet they continue posting because they’re unaware that the content is not being disseminated.
Under this two-tier information suppression system, you will have no idea whether your posts or comments are being suppressed and can’t be seen by other users, and to which degree your post or comment is being suppressed. In general, however, the internal documents reveal that this suppression strategy is currently reducing “vaccine hesitant” comments by 42.5% within the test group.
Facebook Is Actively Suppressing Life-Saving Science
Now, an example of a “vaccine hesitant” comment is not just “I don’t know if I want the vaccine.” It also includes comments like, “I saw a study that said someone died who got the vaccine,” and personal experiences such as “Excruciating pain after my second vaccine! Shaking so bad, almost to convulsions.”
Facebook is even censoring and putting “fake news” labels on data obtained directly from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is jointly run by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
This despite having a public policy to “remove content that repeats … false health information … that are widely debunked by leading health organizations such as the World Health Organization and the CDC.”
They justify this by stating that VAERS data and other study findings cannot be communicated unless “full context” is provided. But as noted by the whistleblower, that’s a highly ambiguous term. What is full context? Do you have to post an entire study in order for it to be contextual?
In the final analysis, it’s clear that Facebook is actively suppressing and censoring science, medical facts and first-hand personal experiences, and in so doing, they are putting the whole world in harm’s way. By suppressing crucial information about vaccine risks they are eliminating any possibility of informed consent because it is impossible to understand the risks.
They are promoting ignorance that can, and I firmly believe, will, literally kill many of their users. And, since Facebook openly admits coordinating its censorship with the CDC and WHO, the same can probably be said for both of those organizations. As one of the whistleblowers tells O’Keefe:
“[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.”
Facebook Has Turned From Digital Town Square to Digital Jail
The second whistleblower, a data center facility engineer, says Facebook is now “prohibiting people from having an open dialogue about issues that affect their personal security.” He likens the platform to an abusive partner who doesn’t allow their spouse to speak to friends and family about what’s going on behind closed doors.
Ironically, leaked video from the same whistleblower shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, back in mid-July 2020, expressing his own vaccine hesitancy during a video conference.
“I do just want to make sure that I share some caution on this because we just don’t know the long-term side effects of basically modifying people’s DNA and RNA,” Zuckerberg told his team, referring to COVID-19 vaccines under development.
As noted by O’Keefe, Zuckerberg’s own words would now violate his company’s public policy and rules of expression.
Children’s Health Defense Sues Facebook Over Censorship
In related news, Children’s Health Defense (CHD) sued Facebook in August 2020, charging the company, its CEO, Zuckerberg, and several fact-checking organizations with “censoring truthful public health posts and for fraudulently misrepresenting and defaming the children’s health organization.”10 As reported by The Defender, May 25, 2021:11
“The complaint12 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.”
Florida Governor Signs Law to Crack Down on Censorship
It seems legal action may be the only way to rein in censorship that has spiraled out of control, and Florida, my home state, is paving the way with brand-new legislation, SB 7072,13 to hold social media companies liable for their censorship. As reported by NBC News, May 24, 2021:14
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis … said the bill … cracks down on … social media ‘censorship’ while safeguarding Floridians’ ability to access social media platforms. ‘One of their major missions seems to be suppressing ideas that are either inconvenient to the narrative or which they personally disagree with,’ DeSantis said …
DeSantis … and others have accused social media companies of censoring conservative thought by removing posts or using algorithms that reduce the visibility of posts …
The bill also imposes hefty financial penalties against social media platforms that suspend the accounts of political candidates. The bill would fine companies $250,000 a day for doing so …
Florida’s attorney general can bring action against technology companies that violate the law, under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and social media platforms found to have violated antitrust law will be restricted from contracting with any public entity, DeSantis said.”
The bill also allows private users to sue for certain violations, with statutory damages totaling up to $100,000 per proven claim or actual damages, plus punitive damages “if aggravating factors are present.”15
Facebook Harms Users in Other Ways Too
As detailed in “Harvard Professor Exposes Surveillance Capitalism,” which features an interview with Shoshana Zuboff, author of the book, “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism,” free social media platforms aren’t free. You pay with your personal data.
So, not only is Facebook and other social media companies suppressing your freedom of speech — often at the request of government officials, which is illegal — they’re also stealing your personal data and using it to control and manipulate you.
Their primary function isn’t actually to allow you to communicate with others. Their primary function is surveillance, data collection and social engineering. In other words, you are the commodity, not the other way around. They need you far more than you need them.
Companies like Facebook, Google and third parties of all kinds have the power, and use that power, to target your personal inner demons, to trigger you, and to take advantage of you when you’re at your most vulnerable to entice you into action that serves them, commercially or politically.
Your entire existence — even your shifting moods, deciphered by facial recognition software — has become a source of revenue for corporate entities as you’re being cleverly maneuvered into doing (and typically buying) or thinking something you may not have done, bought or thought otherwise.
Facebook’s massive experiments, in which they used subliminal cues to see if they could make people happier or sadder and affect real-world behavior offline, have proved that — by manipulating language and inserting subliminal cues in the online context — they can change real-world behavior and real-world emotion, and that these methods and powers can be exercised “while bypassing user awareness.”
Other technologies, such as digital security systems, employ hidden microphones to spy on your private conversations. All of these data streams, from cell phones, computers, “smart” appliances and video cameras around public areas add to ever-expanding predictive modeling capabilities that, ultimately, are used to control and manipulate you.
We Need New Laws
As noted by Zuboff, the reason we’re in this creepy situation is because there are no laws in place to curtail this brand-new type of surveillance capitalism. Indeed, the only reason it has been able to flourish over the past 20 years is because there’s been an absence of laws against it, primarily because it has never previously existed.
Google and Facebook were the only ones who knew what they were doing. The surveillance network grew in the shadows, unbeknownst to the public or lawmakers. The good news is, it’s not too late to take back both our privacy — and our freedom of speech online — but we need legislation that addresses the reality of the entire breadth and depth of these systems in their entirety. As noted by Zuboff:16
“The choice to turn any aspect of one’s life into data must belong to individuals by virtue of their rights in a democratic society. This means, for example, that companies cannot claim the right to your face, or use your face as free raw material for analysis, or own and sell any computational products that derive from your face …
Anything made by humans can be unmade by humans. Surveillance capitalism is young, barely 20 years in the making, but democracy is old, rooted in generations of hope and contest.
Surveillance capitalists are rich and powerful, but they are not invulnerable. They have an Achilles heel: fear. They fear lawmakers who do not fear them. They fear citizens who demand a new road forward as they insist on new answers to old questions: Who will know? Who will decide who knows? Who will decide who decides? Who will write the music, and who will dance?”
How to Protect Your Online Privacy
While there’s no doubt we need a whole new legislative framework to curtail surveillance capitalism and censorship alike, in the meantime, there are ways you can protect your privacy online and limit the “behavioral surplus data” collected about you. (As of yet, there’s not much you can do about online censorship, other than encourage your state legislators to address it, as Florida just began to do.) To protect your privacy, consider taking the following steps:17
Sources and References