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Fact Checking as the New Censorship — Surer Than the Old Type

Apparently, Facebook has created a special portal for government to report “disinformation”

Did you know that the Disinformation Governance Board, supposedly shut down, never really died? It continues in more covert forms.

From an article published today at The Intercept:

Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms…

“Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February.

Ken Klippenstein, Lee Fang, “Truth Cops” at The Intercept (October 31, 2022)

We also learn that “Facebook created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report disinformation directly.”

The obvious problem is that just what constitutes disinformation or misinformation is often very subjective and quite often political as well. One wit has pointed out:

Imagine some hippy in 1968 speaking out against the escalating U.S. war in Vietnam on his Facebook, only to have “Missing Context” pop up to warn his followers:

‘End the War! Bring our troops home! Screw Johnson!’

Facebook Warning: *Independent fact-checkers* have found that this and similar posts are missing context. The Pentagon and statements by White House officials have suggested that U.S. efforts in this conflict have been productive.

In fact, the war had been going south for many years before the U.S. government would admit it — and it was a whistleblower that forced them to do it.

Brad Polumbo, “Here’s how it might have looked if today’s ‘fact checkers’ had been able to censor speech throughout U.S. history” at Based Politics

He adds,

The spread of misinformation has been a societal problem since the beginning of human communication — but much of the spread of disinformation has been done by the government and politicians. Their word should hardly be the measurement by which “fact-checkers” evaluate content. Major communication platforms of our time insisting that the only public discourse allowed must follow government dictums and guidelines is something very new and troubling.

Brad Polumbo, “Here’s how it might have looked if today’s ‘fact checkers’ had been able to censor speech throughout U.S. history” at Based Politics

Many users do not have enough knowledge of a topic to identify instances where government or major corporate sources are not being straightforward in a sensitive area. At least the old-fashioned censor simply told you that you couldn’t or mustn’t read a given book. Today, the same sort of person will tell you that it is “misinformation” — perhaps simply to discourage you from hearing unpopular facts aired.

Next: “Fact checking” the origin of COVID-19

You may also wish to read: Facebook and government: Working together for thought management. A critical distinction between Facebook and traditional media is that Facebook is global and total, not regional and partial. Louisiana and Missouri are currently suing over the federal government’s collusion with Facebook to censor Americans.


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Fact Checking as the New Censorship — Surer Than the Old Type