YouTube purges Florida Governor video for ‘Covid-19 medical misinformation’

 

Who has the authority to declare a ‘scientific consensus’?


At what point does Big Tech’s authority extend too far?

Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose state has faced the challenge of covid-19 considerably well despite media criticism, had a video removed by YouTube for allegedly spreading “medical misinformation”.

DeSantis had hosted a roundtable discussion in a video uploaded by the American Institute for Economic Research. In it, he and “a handful of medical experts questioned the effectiveness of having children wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19,” according to The Wrap. A representative from YouTube confirmed to The Wrap that,

The video was removed due to multiple instances where the doctors said children didn’t need to wear masks. This position… violated the Google-owned video site’s “COVID-19 medical misinformation” policies.

The video was removed due to multiple instances where the doctors said children didn’t need to wear masks. This position… violated the Google-owned video site’s “COVID-19 medical misinformation” policies.

At the risk of stating the obvious, it is rather odd for a social media site to take a scientific stance on an issue where consensus is lacking and new data is constantly emerging.

Ironically, the World Health Organisation (WHO) itself advises that children under five should not be required to wear masks and that those between ages six and 11 need only wear masks in areas of “widespread transmission”.

Since when is an IT company better informed than the world’s peak health body? More to the point, even if YouTube’s guidance agreed with WHO, since when is it YouTube’s role to silence dissent? It seems that the proverbial Galileo affair, like so much else of Western history, has been cast aside in our giddy rush towards “progress”.

Far more certain than the efficacy of masks are basic facts of the universe like the law of gravity or that 2 + 2 = 4. That YouTube chooses not to censor dissent on these and yet targets a Republican Governor for a different stance on mask-wearing exposes much about the cultural revolution quickly enveloping us.

It is another reminder— in the unlikely case that we needed it—that in Wokeworld, everything is political. Science especially.

Consider also Facebook’s clampdown on vaccine dissent. Recently, Facebook announced, “we are expanding our efforts to remove false claims on Facebook and Instagram about Covid-19, Covid-19 vaccines and vaccines in general during the pandemic.”

Under this rubric, as recently as Monday, it was presumably a purgeable offence to post on Facebook suggesting, for example, that people could experience severe blood clotting if they took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. But on Tuesday, we can only assume that this suddenly became permissible, once the US Food and Drug Administration recommended a pause in its use for precisely this reason.

Not only is Silicon Valley creating piddling dictatorships that threaten to chase off half their client base: they a forging a rod for their own back as this volatile pandemic requires a constant re-write of what constitutes the “scientific consensus” and what is to be condemned as “disinformation”.

The notion of consensus is in part what is causing so much confusion.

Consensus is a powerful factor when it comes to ascertaining scientific facts. But it is not everything. Again, ask Galileo, who was put under house arrest by the authorities of his day for discovering compelling evidence that the earth revolved around the sun. Eventually, he was proven right—but he had to challenge the Aristotelian consensus to achieve this.

We also do ourselves a disservice by lumping all “science” together, as though the law of gravity and our rapidly expanding knowledge of Covid-19 somehow hold the same authority. They don’t, and we’re only fooling ourselves if we pretend that they do.

A decade and a half ago, social media’s gift to the world was the democratisation of information. Anyone could post. Anyone could play journalist or commentator. Discernment was required—as it always is in thinking cultures. But the freedom afforded by these platforms created untold opportunity for media start-ups, everyday entrepreneurs, and global communication.

Now all of this is threatened as Big Tech steamrolls anyone who doesn’t agree with their subjective and ever-changing opinions. They are playing a game of petty postmodern tyranny, and it is hurting everyone.

It’s time to bring back dissent and robust debate in the public square. If we don’t, we will silence the next Galileo, and whom does that help?

COLUMN BY

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate… 

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

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