COVID-19 Censorship: Trusted News Initiative to Decide the Facts?

COVID-19 Censorship: Trusted News Initiative to Decide the Facts?

Since time immemorial, those with power have used it to control those without. In the modern world, big government and big tech represent the seats of power when it comes to who is allowed to say what. Of course, many think that “private companies” can regulate speech in any way they see fit. But from either an ethical or legal point of view, this is false. The argument from the societal benefits of free speech works equally for posting YouTube videos and handing out flyers on a corner. Legally, the Supreme Court has long held that when a private company creates something that functions as a public square (think of a company town), the First Amendment comes into play. Way back in April 2020, it was already clear that the then-existing online socio-political censorship was going to expand into the world of science, medicine, and academia in the new COVID-19 era. On April 1 of that year, early in the pandemic, Foreign Policy took a look at these questions in a piece titled, “Coronavirus Has Started a Censorship Pandemic.” And while TrialSite has noted that telling people to drink bleach for their COVID-19 is close to the legally unprotected shout of “fire” in a crowded theater, we t...

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