Michael Shellenberger | Blacklisted News
The leaders of nations, representatives of international organizations, and philanthropists say they are committed to creating free and open societies. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says Facebook has independent fact-checkers, is open to all perspectives, and doesn’t interfere in elections. And, in response to questions from a colleague at Public, a representative from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations insisted the philanthropy supported free speech.
“In response to your effort to conflate any attempt to address hate speech as a frontal assault on free speech itself,” the Soros spokesperson said, “perhaps the words of the UN Secretary-General will help in illuminating a crucial distinction: ‘Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech.’”
But these words are a thin veil covering an aggressive attack on freedom of speech around the world, from Australia to North America to Europe, where the Digital Services Act, which demands Internet companies “Address any risk they pose on society, including public health, physical and mental well-being,” goes into effect today.
A blockbuster new investigation by Australia’s Sky News discovered that Meta-Facebook has been paying activists to serve as neutral fact-checkers while, in reality, using their power to censor their political enemies.
The context is that this fall, Australians will vote in a special national election, the Australian Indigenous Voice referendum, on whether to give special political powers to native peoples. Facebook is funding those in favor of the referendum to censor its opponents. “An audit of RMIT Voice fact checks showed the 17 Voice checks between May 3 and June 23 this year were all targeting anti-Voice opinions or views,” Sky News Found.
Meta allowed the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to censor disfavored views even while “knowing it was a breach of the rules Zuckerberg established to distance himself from fact-checking responsibilities,” reported SkyNews.
The RMIT, which is a respected technical university like America’s MIT, “used the powers Facebook has given it to throttle Sky News Australia’s Facebook page with false fact checks multiple times this year, breaching the Meta-endorsed IFCN Code of Principles and preventing millions of Australians from reading or watching Sky News Australia’s journalism.”
How did the fact-checkers abuse their powers? By smearing their political enemies as racists. “Fact-checkers employed by RMIT have led to numerous code breaches,” reports Sky News, “including one fact-checker using her social media account to label Opposition Leader Peter Dutton a fear-mongering racist for his views on the Voice.”
As for Soros’ Open Society Foundations, its spokesperson cleverly tucked a call for expanded censorship into her response to our queries.
After saying, “Addressing hate speech does not mean limiting or prohibiting freedom of speech,” the spokesperson said, “It means keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous, particularly incitement to discrimination, hostility, and violence, which is prohibited under international law” [emphasis added].
“Keeping hate speech from escalating into something more dangerous” is precisely the justification for censorship that politicians in Ireland and Scotland are making to be able to invade people’s homes and confiscate their phones and computers, as Irish reporter Ben Scallan described yesterday.
Consider the twisted logic. Irish police must invade people’s homes in order to make sure that their hate materials don’t escalate into something that could be illegal. That’s a totalitarian move toward the police enforcing “precrime,” as depicted in the terrifying science fiction thriller Minority Report.
Meanwhile, the UN is now building a “digital army” of censorship activists around the world to wage war on wrongthink, or what it calls “deadly disinformation.” According to the UN, “misinformation” is “deadly” and poses an “existential” threat. The UN’s effort matches the WHO effort, which views speech it disagrees with as a kind of pathogen.
In Germany, a court ordered the American writer C.J. Hopkins to either go to jail or pay 3,600 Euros for comparing the COVID lockdowns to the Nazis. The government claimed Hopkins was promoting Nazism when, obviously, he doing the opposite. While some may take offense at the comparison, it makes clear that Hopkins has a negative, not positive, view of Nazism.
In the United States, a nonprofit organization called Center for Countering Digital Hate, whose former communications director worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, has successfully led a boycott against X, formerly named Twitter, for not being more censorious. As a result, advertising revenue to X is down 60 – 70%, according to news reports.
In short, Western elites, both governmental, corporate, and philanthropic, are embracing the kinds of totalitarian tactics made famous by the East German Stasi, the Chinese government, and dystopian regimes depicted in movies like Minority Report. Why is that? And how can we fight back?
Categories: Big Brother