|• Roberto Burioni
• Nathalie Van Raemdonck
There are few subjects as that bring out official condemnation as strongly vaccine skepticism. Nicknamed anti-vaxxers, anyone questioning vaccines, either of broader issues or more specific worries, will find themselves under heavy corporate and state censorship and subject to paternalistic and draconian state measures; regardless of any actual argument on the matter.
In 2020, the vaccine censorship was massively stepped up, when Western intelligence services equaled it to terrorism and decoded "to wage cyber war on anti-vaccine propaganda"., by taking down websites and "disruption of the actors" behind the fake news.
- Full article: COVID-19/Censorship
- Full article: COVID-19/Censorship
Some reasons for vaccine skepticism
Vaccine-skeptic arguments can be:
- questioning of the medical cost/benefit;
- connections to severe side effects in a certain percentage of cases;
- the dramatic increase in number of vaccines routinely used the last half century;
- scientific - or lack of faith in the integrity of often profit driven and corrupt scientific studies;
- skepticism against what seems to be a big pharma driven push;
- a reaction to certain messianic proponents of vaccines as the 21st century panacea;
- military/covert war applications of vaccines;
- ethical/religious grounds;
- or other grounds - including ignorance.
'Anti-vaxxers' is a broad group, and the censorship supporters often pick examples from the more outré anti-vaccine claims, ignoring and lumping together all criticism as based on pure ignorance, if not direct malicious intent.
Censorship of 'anti-vaxxers' is often used as a wedge issue to further general censorship, and often finds support even with people who otherwise oppose political censorship, and large sections of the alternative media.
With government 'encouragement', social media corporations routinely hide and ban vaccine-skeptic views, and governments and international organizations have set down task forces to clamp down on vaccine skeptics/opponents ('vaccine hesitants' as they are called in the many studies of them).
From June 2019, the video platform Vimeo bans "content that perpetuates false or misleading claims about vaccine safety", because it "can cause material, real-world harms". Using newspeak, the company stated "starting today, we are providing a 30-day grace period for documentaries that contravene our policy on vaccination content so that creators can voluntarily remove those videos. At the end of the grace period, we will begin removing anti-vaccination videos that haven’t been voluntarily removed."
GAVI, the vaccine alliance
In May 2019, Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance stated that "doubts about vaccines have spread across social media like a disease and false information that “kills people” should be taken down by the companies running digital platforms". Stating that there was a "strong scientific consensus about the safety of vaccines", he said skepticism should be though of as a disease. "This is a disease,” Berkley said. “This spreads at the speed of light, literally.” Misinformation about vaccines, which the WHO says save two million lives annually, was not a freedom of speech issue and social media firms need to take it offline, Berkley said.
At the same conference, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said health authorities needeed to “up our game”, adding that she was working with Twitter, Facebook, Google and other tech companies.
War to "Take Out" Vaccine skeptics
In November 2020, the British signal intelligence service GCHQ was ordered "to wage cyber war on anti-vaccine propaganda" (i.e. information a priori defined as false) and to "to take out antivaxers online and on social media". The the focus of the high priority covert operation is taking down hostile "state-linked" content and disrupting the communications of the cyberactors responsible.
There are ways they have used to monitor and disrupt terrorist propaganda.'...Tactics considered are the "take down of websites and content linked to hostile states and the disruption of the actors behind the fake news. GCHQ will attempt to do this by encrypting the state's own data so they cannot access it and by blocking communication between hostile groups."
|“Disinformation in times of the coronavirus can kill. We have a duty to protect our citizens by making them aware of false information, and expose the actors responsible for engaging in such practices. In today's technology-driven world, where warriors wield keyboards rather than swords and targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns are a recognised weapon of state and non-state actors, the European Union is increasing its activities and capacities in this fight.”
|10 June 2020