The real danger of misinformation and disinformation is much less from incorrect information than from the political misuse of these labels by governments and social media organizations to suppress opinions they dislike. “Disinformation” has become so politicized that, as Orwell might have said, it has effectively become just another swear word used in modern information warfare.
The “Twitter Files”
After Elon Musk purchased Twitter he publicly disclosed the Twitter Files through a few selected journalists. These journalists described Twitter’s secret blacklists and other suppression techniques Twitter used to limit the visibility of certain Twitter accounts. The Twitter Files also revealed that US government agencies, particularly intelligence agencies like the FBI, and even the White House itself, collaborated with and instructed Twitter’s staff censors to “shadow ban”, i.e., restrict accessibility of, certain accounts because they presented so-called “misinformation ”or “disinformation”. Similar government collaboration occurred with Facebook and other social media.
The Targets of Government Censorship by Proxy
These targeted restrictions were often applied to posts by reputable scientists like Stanford’s epidemiologist, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya to suppress opinions critical of government policy on, e.g., pandemic lockdowns. This suppression was carried out by Twitter staff members with no scientific credentials to make informed decisions about what was dangerous versus merely controversial. Rather, the criterion for suppression was whether the government agencies wanted the suppression. (Even before the pandemic this suppression was being applied to advocates and critics of various other government policies.)Continue reading “The Real Dangers of Misinformation and Disinformation”