Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Thursday’s episode of the “Lex Fridman Podcast” and admitted that the social media giant censored information and opinion during the COVID pandemic—but he avoided looking in the mirror and tried to cast all blame on the “establishment.” Which is ironic, when any definition of establishment would include him.
Sorry Zuckerberg, you own this one. Your platform censored the truth during a critical time in this nation’s history and you ruined people’s lives and reputations.
First, he wonders what to do with information that is factually incorrect but not necessarily dangerous:
So misinformation, I think …has been a really tricky one because there are things that are kind of obviously false, right, that are maybe factual, but may not be harmful…
Are you going to censor someone for just being wrong? It’s, you know, if there’s no kind of harm implication of what they’re doing, I think that’s there’s a bunch of real kind of issues and challenges there.
That seems like a fair point—what do you do with information that’s obviously false? Twitter has found a pretty good solution with Community Notes, however; you’d think Facebook could have developed something by now if combatting non-harmful information is so important to them.
But the real problem is, who determines what’s false? And as we found out during COVID, letting Joe Biden, Dr. Anthony Fauci and other serial misinformation spouters be the arbiters of truth, what we get instead are lies. Remember the “pandemic of the unvaccinated?”
Zuckerberg flat-out admits that his platforms censored information that later turned out to be true:
But then I think that there are other places where it is, it just takes some of the stuff around COVID earlier on in the pandemic where there were, you know, real health implications, but there hadn’t been time to fully vet a bunch of the scientific assumptions and you know, unfortunately, I think a lot of the kind of establishment on that kind of waffled on a bunch of facts and, you know, asked for a bunch of things to be censored that in retrospect ended up being you know more debatable or true. [Emphasis mine.]
Mark Zuckerberg says it was challenging to censor COVID misinformation because the scientific establishment was frequently wrong, which ultimately undermined public trust:
“Just take some of the stuff around COVID earlier in the pandemic where there were real health… pic.twitter.com/y0ZaX4kmCE
— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) June 9, 2023
Notice how he blames the “establishment.” He’s one of the richest men in the world, and he’s one of the most powerful people in Big Tech, yet he plays the helpless victim. His companies found time to suppress true information, yet a new report just showed that a vast pedophile network runs freely on one of his companies, Instagram. How about you censor that evil, Mark?
He worries that people will lose faith in the “authorities”:
And that stuff is really tough, right? It really undermines trust.
Yes, lying to people and working actively to censor the truth definitely undermines trust. Zuckerberg is a little late to this party: anyone who trusts Meta, the CDC, Fauci, or Biden ever again hasn’t been paying attention.
The COVID censorship era should go down in American history as one of the worst examples of government overreach—and the dangers of allowing Big Tech to filter information. Zuckerberg blames authorities for forcing him to become one of the world’s biggest censors, but I don’t remember seeing him fighting for free speech or trying to push back on their heavyhandedness. His efforts had real-world effects on millions of people and severely impacted conservative sites like RedState which were routinely throttled.
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