In a Press Conference on Thursday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy demanded Big Tech increase censorship for posts spreading “misinformation”.
Dr. Murthy issued a Surgeon General’s Advisory, usually only reserved for urgent public health threats, on the dangers of misinformation. He urged Individuals to stop liking or sharing posts that are not backed “by credible sources”, Health Organizations to “speak with their patients regarding misinformation”, “Educational Institutions”, “News Outlets”, and “Technology Companies” were also asked to join the Biden Administration’s efforts. Jen Psaki discussed proposed changes to social media platforms, like Facebook to have “faster measures” of censorship.
Dr. Vivek Murthy stated: “Today, I issued a Surgeon General’s Advisory on the dangers of health misinformation. Surgeon General Advisories are reserved for urgent public health threats. And while those threats have often been related to what we eat, drink, and smoke, today we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health. Health misinformation is false, inaccurate, or misleading information about health, according to the best evidence at the time. And while it often appears innocuous on social media apps and retail sites or search engines, the truth is that misinformation takes away our freedom to make informed decisions about our health and the health of our loved ones.” he continued “During the COVID-19 pandemic, health misinformation has led people to resist wearing masks in high-risk settings. It’s led them to turn down proven treatments and to choose not to get vaccinated. This has led to avoidable illnesses and death. Simply put, health [mis]information has cost us lives.”
“They’ve designed product features, such as “Like” buttons, that reward us for sharing emotionally-charged content, not accurate content. And their algorithms tend to give us more of what we click on, pulling us deeper and deeper into a well of misinformation.
Now, we need an all-of-society approach to fight misinformation. And that’s why this advisory that I issued today has recommendations for everyone.
First, we include recommendations for individuals and families. We ask people to raise the bar for sharing health information by checking sources before they share, to ensure that information is backed by credible, scientific sources. As we say in the advisory, “If you’re not sure, don’t share.”
Second, we’re asking health organizations to proactively address misinformation with their patients. Today, the American Academy of Pediatrics is announcing an educational campaign to help parents navigate online health information. I’m encouraged to see this commitment. And, again, this is just the beginning.
Third, we’re asking educational institutions to help improve health information literacy.
We’re asking researchers and foundations as well to help us learn more about how health [mis]information spreads and how to stop it.
Today, the Rockefeller Foundation is announcing a $13.5 million commitment to counter health misinformation. The Digital Public Library of America is announcing that they will convene a set of librarians, scholars, journalists, and civic leaders to confront health misinformation together.
Fourth, we’re saying we expect more from our technology companies. We’re asking them to operate with greater transparency and accountability. We’re asking them to monitor misinformation more closely. We’re asking them to consistently take action against misinformation super-spreaders on their platforms.
Fifth, we’re also asking news organizations to proactively address the public’s questions without inadvertently giving a platform to health misinformation that can harm their audiences.
And sixth, we know that government can play an important role too by investing in research, by bringing individuals and organizations together to address misinformation, and by supporting groups that are working on this issue.“
“We must confront misinformation as a nation. Every one of us has the power and the responsibility to make a difference in this fight. Lives are depending on it.”
Jen Psaki took the floor, stating, “There are also proposed changes that we have made to social media platforms, including Facebook, and those specifically are four key steps.
One, that they measure and publicly share the impact of misinformation on their platform. Facebook should provide, publicly and transparently, data on the reach of COVID-19 — COVID vaccine misinformation. Not just engagement, but the reach of the misinformation and the audience that it’s reaching.
That will help us ensure we’re getting accurate information to people. This should be provided not just to researchers, but to the public so that the public knows and understands what is accurate and inaccurate.
Second, that we have recommended — proposed that they create a robust enforcement strategy that bridges their properties and provides transparency about the rules. So, about — I think this was a question asked before — there’s about 12 people who are producing 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. All of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms, including Facebook — ones that Facebook owns.
Third, it’s important to take faster action against harmful posts. As you all know, information travels quite quickly on social media platforms; sometimes it’s not accurate. And Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful, violative posts — posts that will be within their policies for removal often remain up for days. That’s too long. The information spreads too quickly.
Finally, we have proposed they promote quality information sources in their feed algorithm. Facebook has repeatedly shown that they have the levers to promote quality information. We’ve seen them effectively do this in their algorithm over low-quality information and they’ve chosen not to use it in this case. And that’s certainly an area that would have an impact.
So, these are certainly the proposals. We engage with them regularly and they certainly understand what our asks are.”
It’s concerning how 12 people—an extremely specific number— contribute to all of the internet’s misinformation, so much that they are willing to censor every American.
Currently China has the largest number of imprisoned Journalists. The Cyberspace Administration of China states China’s internet censorship is to “standardize and steer public accounts and information service platforms to be more self aware in maintaining the correct direction of public opinion,”
The Chinese Cyberspace Administration’s terms on their website states:
“Article 5: When an operator purchases network products and services, it shall predict the national security risks that may arise after the products and services are put into use. Those that affect or may affect national security should report to the Cyber Security Review Office for a cyber security review.”
“Article 19: Operators that violate the provisions of these Measures shall be dealt with in accordance with Article 65 of the “Network Security Law of the People’s Republic of China“.
“Article 65: Where critical information infrastructure operators violate article 35 of this Law by using network products or services that have not had safety inspections or did not pass safety inspections, the relevant competent departments order the usage to stop, and give a fine in the amount of 1 to 10 times the purchase price; the persons who are directly in charge and other directly responsible personnel are fined between RMB 10,000 and 100,000.”
This means Internet Service Providers are legally responsible for their customer’s content online. Their use of the term “National Security” encompasses anything that goes against Chinese President Xi Jinping’s narrative. The people of China do not have the choice to speak alternative ideas, without risk of committing a serious crime. The censorship in China is enacted for the “protection” of the Chinese citizens, and the greater good of the Communist party.
According to Jen Psaki this national misinformation emergency is caused by “about 12 people”. Alternative ideas are quickly becoming illegal, as anything outside our governments narrative is considered “dangerous” and “a matter of national security”. Could we be seeing direct similarities between the public control of the Communist Party of China, and the growing internet censorship in America? The U.S. government is calling on not only Individuals, but Friends, Families, Doctors, Educational Institutes, Investors, and News Organizations to help combat “misinformation” and help push this mass censorship. Could communism slowly begin to infiltrate America?