Informed consent requires information. Censorship strikes at the heart of health freedom because it disrupts the ability of citizens to be able to properly evaluate both the risks and benefits of medical – especially pharmaceutical – interventions for health.
Americans have experienced widespread deplatforming from social media and been censored over the past three years for questioning a highly politicized COVID narrative spun by the White House. Social media such as Facebook/Meta, Twitter, and Instagram, worked to suppress and deny speech that was critical, or simply questioning, of government’s pharmaceutical-favored COVID policy. These platforms censored citizens, scientists, doctors, injured people, and health workers who questioned or challenged the plan to prioritize pharmaceuticals for COVID treatments. They also silenced challenges to nonpharmaceutical tactics such as universal masking and lockdowns, which carry great psychological and physical harms not explicitly acknowledged within their COVID policies.
Our first president, George Washington, warned that if Americans are not free to offer their thoughts on matters “which may involve the most serious and alarming of consequences … then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”[i] He said this while addressing a letter calling for mutiny for lack of pay and pensions to the army by Congress. Washington set the example for leaders in our federal government — instead of suppressing the speech that challenged federal actions and the government itself, he honored the fact that the concerns were critically important and must be heard, and he answered them.
Sadly, we now have solid evidence that our own federal government worked behind the scenes with social media platforms to stop the free and protected speech of Americans when it was not in lockstep with lockdowns, masking, and pharmaceuticals for COVID.
Evidence of collusion with Big Data
Two states Attorneys General from Louisiana and Missouri sued the Biden administration over censorship on social media platforms. As part of the suit, the U.S. Department of Justice had to hand over documents to be examined for wrongdoing. Emails between the U.S. Health and Human Services department, the Centers for Disease Control, and social media companies such as Facebook/Meta, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter were revealed, showing an ongoing and tangled relationship between federal agencies and social media described in the lawsuit as a vast “Censorship Enterprise across a multitude of federal agencies.” The initial documents, which were heavily redacted and had to be produced after court order, did not show any communications from top officials in the administration because DOJ says they are “privileged” and therefore the American people cannot see them. Attorney General Schmitt from Missouri said, “We have already received a number of documents that clearly prove that the federal government has an incestuous relationship with social media companies and clearly coordinate to censor freedom of speech, but we’re not done.”[ii]
Labeling speech as misinformation, disinformation, or malinformation (MDM) does not make it lose its protection under the First Amendment. In general, censorship based on what is said is assumed to be unconstitutional, unless the government can show the speech fits narrow exceptions such as criminal conduct or words that would incite violence. Technically, even lies and falsehoods are still constitutionally protected speech.[iii]
The complaint further points out that censorship of posts and information labeled MDM was shown time and time again to be valid information that was critical for Americans. For example, in early 2020, social media platforms censored speech about COVID coming from a lab leak, and ultimately even Dr. Fauci has admitted that could be the case. Speech about masks and lockdowns was censored, even though public health officials have now admitted these policies did little to stop the spread of COVID (while also acknowledging the surging mental health crisis caused by COVID policies).
Americans are protected by the First Amendment against censorship of speech by the government. To get around that, the federal government closely worked with Big Data to censor free speech of Americans. Our government used private corporations as a workaround to hide critical information that Americans needed to give meaningful consent with full knowledge of known risks or potential benefits for pharmaceutical interventions, or other health policies pushed by the Administration.
Ongoing censorship and name calling
In July 2021, President Biden accused 12 health advocates of “killing Americans” because of their work in getting information to the public to help inform their health choices during the COVID lockdowns and federal medical policies. Stand for Health Freedom reported on this censorship, which included the speech and social media posts of Co-founder Sayer Ji. The White House asserted that 65% of all misinformation about COVID shots came from these 12 people, when in fact the newly revealed emails between the White House and social media cites only 0.05% of vaccine related content can be linked to them. [iv]
To protect our Constitution and our country, Americans need to make sure our elected officials hold the White House accountable for using Big Data as a tool for violating the First Amendment, and for targeting individuals for openly sharing their ideas, experiences, or opinions. The digital space is our new town square, and the U.S. Supreme Court has acknowledged, “[T]o foreclose access to social media altogether is to prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of First Amendment rights.”[v]
Social media can’t ignore the First Amendment
People turn to social media as a resource for finding information about pharmaceutical products — especially stories from people who have good or bad experiences. In the time of COVID, “the urgency of the pandemic processes may have tilted the traditional patient-practitioner dialogue toward direct public messaging and handouts about risk-benefits of vaccinations, fostering a sense of community-based information sharing rather than individual informed consent engagement.”[vi] Our Supreme Court has stated social media is “perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.”[vii]
In Texas, there is a law prohibiting large social media platforms from censoring speech based on the viewpoint of the speaker. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld this law in September 2022. The court noted, “[T]he platforms argue that buried somewhere in the person’s enumerated right to free speech lies a corporation’s unenumerated right to muzzle speech.” (Emphasis in original.)[viii]
“The implications of the platforms’ argument are staggering. On the platforms’ view, email providers, mobile phone companies, and banks could cancel the accounts of anyone who sends an email, makes a phone call, or spends money in support of a disfavored political party, candidate, or business.”[ix]
The Fifth Circuit stated, “Today we reject the idea that corporations have a freewheeling First Amendment right to censor what people say.”[x]
We need lawmakers who will uphold the Constitution
At a hearing on September 16, 2022, Representative Josh Hawley questioned Chris Cox of Facebook/Meta about collusion with the government to suppress First Amendment Rights. He wanted accountability for the company’s policy of targeting “private individual speech that is constitutionally protected.” Cox stated Facebook/Meta was openly engaged with the United States government, the World Health Organization, and other health organizations in America and abroad to make sure individuals “were not getting information that could cause imminent harm.” (Emphasis added.) This is a direct admission of suppression of constitutionally protected speech.
Unfortunately, the Biden administration continues to partner with social media giants to spread its own messaging. On September 15, 2022, the White House held a summit called United We Stand to address “hate-fueled violence.” The summit included an announcement from YouTube that it will launch “an educational media literacy campaign across its platform to assist younger users in particular in identifying different manipulation tactics used to spread misinformation – from using emotional language to cherry picking information.”[xi]
America needs empowered citizens to protect the Constitution now more than ever. When Americans are making decisions that truly result in life or death, we are reminded why protection of free speech is an essential human right.