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Why does government need to more closely regulate social media? We need free speech

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Jay Bhattacharya is a 55-year-old professor of health policy at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. He has four degrees, including an MD and PhD. At the height of the COVID epidemic, he criticized the Biden administration, calling for an end to economic lockdowns and school shutdowns. He concluded those solutions had limited benefit and disproportionately harmed the young and economically disadvantaged.

“The public health establishment in the United States and the world has failed the public,” he said. “The lockdowns harmed our children.” His research indicated that 100 million people worldwide were sent into dire poverty, “near starvation,” by the lockdowns.

“We haven’t begun to count the deaths from that yet,” he said, “but it’s gonna be in the millions.”

In terms of protecting people from COVID, he adds, “it’s becoming clearer they did none of that.” That blasphemy by Bhattacharya — he is called “the man who talked back” — got him into trouble with Biden and the mainstream medical establishment.

He was censored on social media, the classic response of the authoritarian: we know best; no debate needed. To control the narrative, silence your opponents.

And they did. According to a lawsuit making its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal government, in collusion with the social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, launched one of “the greatest assaults by federal government officials in the nation’s history” against freedom of speech. That’s undoubtedly an exaggeration.

But what’s clear is that in order to go full steam ahead on fighting COVID-19, working closely with Big Pharma, which reaped huge profits, the government had to go after what it labeled “disinformation,” “misinformation” and “malinformation.”

Rise of the ‘censorship-industrial complex’

Under the Orwellian guise of halting disfavored speakers, viewpoints of hundreds of social media dissidents were banned, warned, de-monetized and labeled as dangerous. Algorithms were adjusted to de-emphasize the naughty speakers.  

“The sad fact is,” says Bhattacharya, “we are living in a time where there is once again a need for scientists to (talk) secretly to one another rather than openly about what they actually believe.”  

Don’t get me wrong. Those scientists may be misguided — and wrong.  There is a lot we do not know, like how the virus started, whether the vaccine was the only way out, whether the vaccines were universally needed, or if they are truly safe. We need debate.

But the jury is just beginning to deliberate. We’ve not had a spirited debate. And that’s because, despite a free speech clause in our Constitution, the scientific, medical and social debate has been muted — by government and social media. Some call it the “censorship-industrial complex.” The lawsuit, Biden v. Missouri, seeks to take them both to task, and stop the censorship, if it’s truly that.





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