What is most startling about the Died Suddenly documentary is not its argument, but the way that people are watching it. “#DiedSuddenly is the first movie to premiere on Twitter since your friendly takeover,” the official Died Suddenly account, @DiedSuddenly_, tweeted at Elon Musk. The account has a blue checkmark next to it—a symbol that used to indicate some kind of trustworthiness but now indicates a willingness to pay a monthly fee. When @DiedSuddenly_ first uploaded the movie in full on Twitter, it was labeled as misleading, in accordance with the COVID-19-misinformation policies that were then in place on the site. But this label was soon removed, on November 23, the same day that Twitter stopped enforcing rules about COVID-19 misinformation—including posts stating that the vaccines intentionally cause mass death.The Atlantic also worried about right-wing social media influencers who could amplify memes calling attention to the “died suddenly” trend.
As a meme, “died suddenly” could last a long time—possibly indefinitely. People will always be dying suddenly, so it will always be possible to redeploy it and capture further attention. What’s more, there is a thriving alt-tech ecosystem that can circulate the meme; a whole cohort of right-wing, anti-vaccine influencers and celebrities who can amplify it; and, crucially, a basically unmoderated mainstream social-media platform that can put it in front of hundreds of millions of users—some of whom will make fun of it, but others of whom will start to see something unsettling and credible in its repetitions.The publication additionally complained the free speech promised by Musk on the platform should not extend to people discussing the vaccine as a possible catalyst for a spate in sudden, unexplained deaths.
But “died suddenly” thrives on Twitter. Tweets referencing news stories about unexpected deaths can be flooded with replies trumpeting the conspiracy theory, which go unmoderated. It’s a radical change from the earlier years of the pandemic, during which Twitter implemented new policies against health misinformation and updated them regularly, gradually finessing the wording and clarifying how the company assessed misleading information. These policies and the tactics used to enforce them tightened as the pandemic went on. According to a transparency report the company published in July 2022, Twitter suspended significantly more accounts and removed far more content during the vaccine rollout than during the earliest months of the pandemic, when various groups first expressed concern about dangerous misinformation spreading online. […] And Twitter is backsliding, led by a CEO who has delighted in sharing company documents with critics who held the old COVID-19 policies in disdain. In the “Died Suddenly” Facebook group I joined, commenters praised Musk’s version of the site. “Sign up for Twitter,” one wrote. Those questioning the vaccines used to be “censored earlier by the old Twitter nazis,” but now there is “FREE SPEECH.” “If you want TRUE information … get off Facebook and get on Twitter,” another posted before the group was shut down.The Atlantic‘s latest assault on free speech and the right of the people to freely discuss what they deem important illustrates how the left will simply continue to move the goalpost as they score wins in silencing their opposition. Read more at: Infowars.com
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