The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conspired with social media platforms and tech giant Google to censor online criticism and skepticism about COVID-19 vaccines.
The revelations were detailed in reporting by the Washington Free Beacon on documents obtained by America First Legal.
For several months beginning in December 2020, officials with the CDC regularly communicated with corporate executives at Twitter, Facebook, and Google regarding what it described as “vaccine misinformation.” The CDC also flagged specific posts by ordinary social media users as examples of posts that it found objectionable.
One email from a Twitter employee to a CDC official said that he was “looking forward to setting up regular chats” to discuss the alleged misinformation. Other messages detail the scheduling of meetings with CDC officials to discuss the best ways to stifle alleged misinformation.
While some flagged posts in fact contained false information about the vaccines, the net that was cast resulted in multiple cases of improper censorship. A CDC staffer’s email from April 2021 to Facebook said that algorithms being used by social media platforms to eliminate “misinformation” posts were also “screening out valid public health messaging, including Wyoming Health Department communications.”
The messages show extensive coordination between the CDC and social media companies and raise obvious questions about what other private companies have worked with the federal government to control the free discussion of topics clearly protected by the First Amendment.
The revelations follow the Biden administration’s recent decision to scrap the Department of Homeland Security Disinformation Governance Board plan after an intense public backlash against “Orwellian” information control practices.
Before it was discarded, that board reportedly arranged a meeting with Twitter executives who blocked users from sharing information regarding Hunter Biden’s infamous abandoned laptop.
An internal CDC email from March 2021 shows that the agency was also working on a “project with Census to leverage their infrastructure to identify and monitor social media for vaccine misinformation.” The reference appears to be to the federal agency responsible for conducting the U.S. census every ten years.
Another email discussed a senior official with CDC’s appearance at Google’s “Trusted Media Summit” held in 2020. That conference was designed to educate journalists and researchers in “fighting misinformation.”
The CDC declined to provide comment to the Free Beacon for its report when requested.