(Headline USA) This week, Reason magazine published a number of internal documents and confidential emails that prove the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worked with Facebook to censor COVID-19-critical speech.
The messages between CDC and Meta officials show that the Biden administration regularly kept tabs on which posts Facebook and Instagram censored. In May 2021, for example, Meta officials sent a number of claims about the COVID-19 vaccine to CDC official Carol Crawford, asking the agency to determine which claims should be left up and which ones should be removed.
Some of the claims cited by Meta were: “It is not safe for women on their period to take the COVID-19 vaccine,” “Face masks contain harmful nano worms or harmful particles,” and “COVID-19 has 99.96% survival rate.”
Other claims vetted by the CDC included whether “COVID-19 is man-made.” CDC officials responded to Meta and said that the COVID-19 lab leak theory is “theoretically possible, but extremely unlikely.”
As Reason noted, Meta prohibited users from promoting the lab-leak theory for months, eventually revising this policy at around the same time as this email exchange.
When COVID-19 vaccines became available to children, Meta officials informed the CDC that they would remove any claim that questioned the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for children.
“We also launched a new feature on Instagram, where accounts that repeatedly post content that violates our policies on COVID-19 or vaccine misinformation may now lose the ability to be tagged or mentioned or may see pop-ups asking if they’d like to delete certain posts that may violate our policies,” a Meta official said in an email.
According to Reason, Meta and the CDC also had regular conference calls that involved Dr. Anthony Fauci and even members of the White House. At one point, for example, Rob Flaherty, the White House’s director of digital media, emailed a Facebook executive and accused the platform of spreading “ideas that contribute to vaccine hesitancy.”
“We are gravely concerned that your service is one of the top drivers of vaccine hesitancy — period,” Flaherty wrote. “We want to know that you’re trying, we want to know how we can help, and we want to know that you’re not playing a shell game. This would all be a lot easier if you would just be straight with us.”