Last week US President Joe Biden said Facebook was “killing people” with misinformation, following comments by his Surgeon-General that social media giants weren’t doing enough to censor “serious threats to public health”.
Biden was referring to online critics of Covid-19 vaccines, among whom there are plenty of cranks, to be sure. But heavying digital tech platforms to censor voices the government doesn’t like, even if it’s “for the public good”, is part of a worrying global trend towards more authoritarian government. There’s more at stake than public health.
A few days ago Jacinda Ardern urged New Zealanders to take all non-government information with a “grain of salt”. “Dismiss anything else, we will continue to be your single source of truth,” she said in remarks that would have been considered bizarre in the era Before Covid. “We will provide information frequently and share everything we can.”
Everything, however, didn’t extend to a health ministry report on the country’s elimination strategy that vanished online on June 24, a day after Atlanta-based attorney Michael Senger revealed its complimentary references to China on social media.
The report was embarrassing because it illustrated the pioneer of our novel response to the pandemic: the Chinese Communist Party, for whom controlling information is par for the course.
“The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health
history, so it is certainly not a recommendation the WHO has made,” the
World Health Organisation’s Beijing representative said in
January last year, referring to the Wuhan lockdown. The people of Wuhan
became trailblazers for the 11 million Australians locked down across
Victoria and NSW, and the hundreds of millions of others in between.............To Read More....