This week, President Joe Biden was asked if he has a social media post amid a dramatic increase in the number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 thanks to the delta variant. Biden immediately responded that companies like Facebook were responsible for murders: “They’re killing people – I mean, they really are, look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they kill people. Meanwhile, Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy said Facebook had not sufficiently stopped the disinformation on its platform, calling the disinformation a “serious threat to public health.”
None of this is correct. Facebook is above all a platform; it is not a publication with the same editorial control responsibilities as a publisher. To treat Facebook as such would be to transform its purpose. Moreover, from a purely factual standpoint, it is simply not true that Facebook users are disproportionately likely to avoid vaccination – in fact, according to Facebook statistics, acceptance of the vaccine in the United States among their users are now between 80% and 85%, and 3.3 million Americans have used their vaccine finder to find a location for a vaccine.
So what is it that causes the Biden administration to point the finger at? Its broader agenda of using the massive market dominance of social media platforms to eliminate alternative media sources. Before the rise of social media, most Americans who used the Internet for news tagged a variety of pages and then visited them individually. Over time, as social media grew and people began to access the stories they liked through an algorithm-controlled news feed, Americans took to social media for news. This centralized the mechanism for disseminating information.
Now the left sees an opportunity: if all information is accessible in one place, by restricting access to that place, the information monopoly once held by traditional media can be restored. All it will take is label everyone they dislike “misinformation”.
Kara Swisher from The New York Times, who has spent the past few years trying to pressure Facebook to impose exactly such censorship, says it openly. According to Swisher, Biden wasn’t wrong when he said Facebook was killing people. In fact, Swisher writes, the problem is that Biden limited his analysis to the coronavirus: “Trying to stop the lies by pretending to offer good information is like using a single bag of sand to hold back an incredibly foul ocean. That’s how it is when it comes to a range of once innocuous, now divisive issues, from electoral integrity to critical race theory to anything.
“It doesn’t matter.” Literally, anything that Swisher does not agree on is now dangerous misinformation that must be brought under control. This week, NPR went so far as to pressure Facebook to remove traffic to my website, Daily Wire, on precisely that basis. NPR has admitted that we don’t print lies, spread conspiracy theories, and are honest and open about our conservative outlook. So why should we be deleted? Because, according to NPR, we cover “specific stories that strengthen the Conservative agenda.” And, citing one expert, NPR reports, “If you’ve removed enough context, any piece of truth can turn into a piece of misinformation.
Here it is: even the truth can be misinformation. And disinformation kills.
The authoritarianism of the left is in full swing. Americans need to spot it and fight it before it destroys our ability to see anything other than what the left wants us to see.
Ben Shapiro, 37, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor of DailyWire.com. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling “How to Destroy America in Three Easy Steps”, “The Right Side of History” and “Bullies”. To learn more about Ben Shapiro and read articles from other Creators Syndicate authors and designers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.