Flaherty wanted to know what they were doing to reduce harm on the messaging app. Seemingly dissatisfied with earlier explanations, on March 22, 2021, he wrote, “If you can’t see the message, I’m genuinely curious—how do you know what kinds of messages you’ve cut down on?”Facebook told the White House that it sought to limit virality on its platform in general, which would in turn choke off the flow of “misinformation” to reach a wider audience.
The suppression tools at their disposal—specifically, labeling and limiting message forwards—the Meta employee explained, were blunt “content-agnostic” interventions. The premise was that messages that didn’t originate from a close contact were more likely to contain misinformation. So by preventing virality in general, the company was automatically helping to prevent misinformation.The answer seemingly didn’t satisfy Flaherty, who continued to press Facebook for more information on its efforts to stop “vaccine-skeptical content.”
In one of the follow up exchanges, Flaherty seemed dissatisfied with the response, and again pressed Meta to take action on vaccine hesitancy. “I care mostly about what actions and changes you’re making to ensure you’re not making our country’s vaccine hesitancy problem worse,” he wrote. “I still don’t have a good, empirical answer on how effective you’ve been at reducing the spread of vaccine-skeptical content and misinformation to vaccine fence sitters.”While there is no evidence that Facebook acquiesced to the government’s demands, it shows how far the federal government wanted to go: censoring private messages as well as public ones. Of course, to achieve this, private messages would have to be monitored. The government of the UK, led by an ostensibly conservative party, is also waging an assault on private messaging apps. It is currently weighing legislation that would force private messaging apps to surveil private messages for illegal content. Signal, a popular encrypted app, said it would exit the UK if such proposals made it into law. Read more at: Breitbart.com
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