…The United Kingdom has introduced right to repair rules that legally
require companies to make spare parts available, and United States
President Joe Biden recently signed an executive order directing the
Federal Trade Commission to draft new regulations that would give
consumers more rights to repair products independently…
We have previously discussed Twitter’s robust censorship program that repeatedly has been denounced for bias in taking sides on scientific, social, and political controversies. The problem is that, when you have an army of censors with their thumbs on buttons to flag or bar comments, the tendency is ever expanding levels of censorship. Indeed, much censorship is not thumbless through automatic systems to remove certain comments. That was evident this week. Not only did Twitter flag a picture of a veteran wishing the country a Happy Fourth of July(presumably due to his combat scars) but it flagged New Zealand foreign policy expert Anne-Marie Brady who mocked the Chinese government. The incident is particularly notable afterTwitter recently admitted to censoring criticism of India’s government.Brady is a professor at the University of Canterbury and an authority on the Chinese regime. Like many, Brady mocked the recent Communist Party’s over-the-top celebration of Chinese President Xi Jinping. She soon found that some of her tweets were “unavailable,” Twitter’s version of being “disappeared.”What happened next is all-too-familiar: nothing. Brady tried to get someone to respond to the censorship and received no answer. Indeed, Twitter makes it extraordinarily difficult to reach anyone on such issues. While professing commitment to transparency, the company is notorious for being unresponsive and closed to criticism, even efforts to learn why actions have been taken on such tweets. It was only after Edward Lucas, a journalist for the Times of Britain, inquired that the company finally responded to him rather than Brady. Her account was then restored without an apology or acknowledgement. Brady dryly noted “Seems like @Twitter may have briefly forgotten they don’t work for Xi Jinping.”The assumption is that this is the work of Chinese agents who submit a torrent of complaints to trigger a flagging. Various groups have used the same technique to cancel opposing views. Twitter does nothing about it. Rather than have a presumption in favor of free speech, it automatically flags material pending proof that it is worthy of publication. That often means that it does not disagree with Twitter’s own view of certain sensitive subjects. Absent media coverage, the Chinese would likely have succeeded in silencing Brady with the help of Twitter.As discussed earlier, members of Congress are now pushing for public and private censorship on the internet and in other forums. They are being joined by an unprecedented alliance of academics, writers and activists calling for everything from censorship to incarceration to blacklists. For example, an article published in The Atlantic by Harvard law professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods called for Chinese-style censorship of the internet, stating that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.”Much of the effort by politicians and activists has been directed at using Big Tech to censor or bar opposing viewpoints, seeking to achieve indirectly what cannot be achieved directly in curtailing free speech. Congress could never engage in this type of raw content discrimination between news organizations under the First Amendment.
However, it can use its influence on private companies to limit free speech. The move makes obvious sense if the desire is to shape and control opinion — the essence of state-controlled media. Controlling speech on certain platforms is meaningless if citizens can still hear opposing views from other sources. You must not only control the narrative but also eliminate alternatives to it.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent nearly US$6 billion over the past 17 years trying to improve agriculture, mainly in Africa. This is a lot of money for an underfunded sector, and, as such, carries great weight. To better understand how the Gates Foundation is shaping the global agriculture agenda, GRAIN analysed all the food and agriculture grants the foundation has made up until 2020.
We found that,while the Foundation’s grants focus on African farmers, the vast majority of its funding goes to groups in North America and Europe.The grants are also heavily skewed to technologies developed by research centres and corporations in the North for poor farmers in the South, completely ignoring the knowledge, technologies and biodiversity that these farmers already possess.
Also, despite the Foundation’s focus on techno-fixes, much of its grants are given to groups that lobby on behalf of industrial farming and undermine alternatives. This is bad for African farmers and bad for the planet. It is time to pull the plug on the Gates’ outsized influence over global agriculture.
In 2014 GRAIN published a detailed breakdown of the grants made by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote agricultural development in Africa and other parts of the world.1Our main conclusion then was that the vast majority of those grants were channelled to groups in the US and Europe, not Africa nor other parts of the global South. The funding overwhelmingly went to research institutes rather than farmers. They were also mainly directed at shaping policies to support industrial farming, not smallholders.
In a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, GOP Rep. Ken Buck, from Colorado, criticized Facebook’s content moderation policies. Buck pointed out, among other things, how Facebook’s content moderation practices are biased against some opinions.
“During the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook removed more than 7 million posts that purportedly spread misinformation about the virus, and your company placed contextual notes on more than 98 million posts it deemed as potentially misleading,” Buck wrote. “Monitoring posts across Facebook and Instagram for misinformation about COVID has been an undoubtedly herculean task, but Facebook has vigorously taken on this challenge.”
Buck said that the platform censored content on the origins of the pandemic and the Hunter Biden story for “the supposed interest of public informational safety.”
“Your company is only able to selectively moderate content based on the political agenda of your company and its employees because Facebook possesses monopoly power over the market,” Buck wrote. He warned that “stifling ideas can backfire if it leads people to believe there’s a ‘real story’ that is being suppressed.’”
In both cases (the Hunter Biden story and the origins of the pandemic), “Facebook has had the embarrassing position of having to defend its censorship of legitimate content.” In recent months, more evidence has emerged that supports the lab leak theory. Additionally, “the unconditional erasure of reports that were damaging to the-candidate Joe Biden regarding his son, Hunter Biden, has since proved to be unfounded.”
Buck continued to point out that Facebook has been keen on censoring legal content, but has failed to remove “illegal and sexually abusive content.”
“The company appears to have an astonishing lack of concern about illegal and sexually abusive content that is rampantly permitted on your company’s platforms,” Buck wrote to Zuckerberg.
“Facebook has established a rigorous system for policing speech that is Constitutionally protected, yet your company’s failure to effectively screen illegal and exploitative content represents a misalignment of values that is deeply disconcerting.”
Buck’s letter also highlights Zuckerberg’s recent testimony in Congress about reforms to Section 230, expressing disapproval of Zuckerberg’s recommendation of what the Congressman described as “counterproductive actions.”
“Recently, you testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. In this hearing, you advocated for vaguely defined Section 230 reforms, saying that the law should ‘condition immunity for the larger platforms on having a generally effective system in place to moderate clearly illegal types of content,’” Buck wrote.
“Simply because a company has established a system to review potentially illegal content does not create any standard for ensuring such content is systematically removed from the platform,” he explained. “I agree with you that no system is perfect, but if Congress were to adopt your recommendation, it would codify the status quo and fail to address the issues that are pervasive across Facebook.”
The letter concluded with a plea to Zuckerberg: “I urge you to take necessary steps to ensure your platform is an open platform for the free and open exchange of ideas and an unwelcoming place for illegal and exploitative content.”
Dr. Robert Malone, a pioneer of mRNA technology, is being censored by Big Tech platforms. According to Malone, the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines carry some risks that are being downplayed by public health bodies and his statements are coming up against misinformation policies on many social media platforms.
Malone’s personal LinkedIn account was removed this week without warning or explanation.
“The historic record of what I have done, stated, figured out (and when) etc. over time is a key part of establishing my credibility and track record as a professional,” Robert Malone tweeted Wednesday. “And that has been erased completely and arbitrarily without warning or explanation.”
The premium LinkedIn account for the government and biotech consultancy business he runs with his wife Jill was not removed.
“He was given no notice, no warnings,” Jill wrote in a statement to Just the News. “He has a 10-15 year old account – has never even had a warning. 6,000 followers.”
It appears LinkedIn took issue with a recent post Malone made about Health Canada responding to the concerns him and other experts raised about the presence of the “spike protein” in the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines.
The Canadian health regulator warned about a small number of cases involving heart inflammation in young male adults and adolescents observed after receiving the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
In the since-unavailable post, Malone wrote: “This is certainly a big step forward in my opinion – particularly in contrast to the communication (or lack thereof) and denial from the US and other governments. At least we are now discussing the merits and limitations of the scientific data.”
The Microsoft-owned professional networking platform refused a request for comment on why Malone’s account was removed.
This was not the first time Malone was censored by a mainstream social media platform. A few days ago, YouTube removed an episode of the DarkHorse podcast, run by evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein, where Malone warned about the spike protein in the coronavirus vaccines.
Following the removal, he appeared on Fox News and claimed that the CDC was yet to conduct “risk benefit analyses” of the vaccines, warning that in young people, the vaccines’ “benefits probably don’t outweigh the risks.”
YouTube demonetized the two channels that broadcast the DarkHorse episodes, a move Weinstein said would affect “more than half of our family income.”
According to Jill, YouTube “seems to be banning any content with him [Malone] in it.” She is of the opinion the platform is targeting her husband for contradicting the narrative by the WHO and CDC, which insist that the vaccines are safe.
According to Martin Kulldorf, a Harvard Medical Professor who was locked out of his Twitter account for a month for expressing skepticism on the effectiveness of masks, such censorship is dangerous.
Speaking to Just the News, Kulldorf said: “Open debate is especially important during a public health emergency when many important public health question[s] do not yet have a known answer.”
He said Big Tech platforms should reinstate all suspended accounts, because “To censor and silence scientists under such circumstances can lead to many unnecessary deaths.”
FAIR’s Alan MacLeod writes that “as of Friday, July 2, there has been literally zero coverage of it in corporate media; not one word in the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, Fox News or NPR.”
“A search online for either ‘Assange’ or ‘Thordarson’ will elicit zero relevant articles from establishment sources, either US or elsewhere in the Anglosphere, even in tech-focused platforms like the Verge, Wired or Gizmodo,” MacLeod adds.
“We have not found a single report by any ‘serious’ UK broadcaster or newspaper,” says the report by Media Lens. “But in a sane world, Stundin’s revelations about a key Assange witness – that Thordarson lied in exchange for immunity from prosecution – would have been headline news everywhere, with extensive media coverage on BBC News at Six and Ten, ITV News, Channel 4 News, front-page stories in the Times, Telegraph, the Guardian and more.”
Liberals jumped the gun on COVID censorship, and former President Donald Trump let them know it in his appearance onThe Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show. Trump wasn’t shy about taking a victory lap responding to liberals who initially scorned his theory that COVID-19 emerged from a lab in Wuhan: “Now, they’re all saying that I was right.”
The difference between a conspiracy theory that must be censored and an acceptable possibility only appears to be a few months of time. “Former PresidentDonald Trumpsaid Tuesday critics ‘went crazy’ last year when he said thecoronaviruscould have escaped from a Chinese lab and he was ‘more confident’ than before that’s how the pandemic emerged,” reported Fox News on Tuesday.
Fox News continued: “The hypothesis waswidely calleda ‘debunked’ or ‘fringe” conspiracy theory by media outlets last year.Google and Facebooksuppressed sharing of and searchingfor the theorythat it emerged from the lab, which conducts bat coronavirus research and had widely known security issues.”
Host Clay Travisdirectly observed how the narrative quickly shifted: “All of the sudden, everybody is circling back and saying, ‘Oh, maybe this did happen,’ but all of these different tech platforms disallowed the conversation and debate to actually take place.” Trump blasted liberals for suggesting alternative “phony” explanations such as that COVID-19 “came from a bat colony, a thousand miles away. Much of that has really been disproven.”
The radio show also discussed Trump’s response to Big Tech censorship in general and whether he would start his own platform:
Trump condemned censorship“by Amazon and by Google and by Apple.” He then recounted “what happened to Parler and others, they get shut down as soon as somebody puts something that’s somewhat controversial.” Trump then declared: “No. You have to have your own cloud or you have to have your own means of getting it out, because as soon as you get big or powerful or you start saying anything that’s somewhat conservative, they will censor you.”
Big Tech was ruthless when crushing rumors of the Wuhan Lab narrative last year. Twitter allegedly cracked down on news outletZeroHedgeafter itshared the lab narrativein February 2020.
Forbesclaimedthat a spokesperson from Twitter indicated that “ZeroHedge was removed for violating itsplatform manipulation policy, which the social media giant describes as ‘using Twitter to engage in bulk, aggressive or deceptive activity that misleads others and/or disrupts their experience.’” However, theDaily Mailcited a resurfaced research paper from South China University of Technology that appeared to lend some credence to ZeroHedge’s initial reporting.
Conservatives are under attack.Contact your local representative and demand that Big Tech mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Centercontact formand help us hold Big Tech accountable.