Reply To: Soothermother, for you on John Goss

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Soothmoother – “There are currently many extremely well qualified professionals being de-platformed and not allowed to be heard.”

It’s a bit more complicated than that.

The context is that conspiracy theory from diverse sources has soared, I’d say since the 9/11 attacks. Social media algorithms have promoted it merely because it makes good click bait. Some of the major ones have also been promoted by the mainstream corporate media, “Russian election hacking” and Westminster’s Skripal narrative being prime examples, but the really big one has been three decades of intensive climate change denial.

Against this backdrop the global emergency of the pandemic exploded. The only tool we had to reduce its severity were social restrictions. But the climate change denial techniques were deployed again; the small minority of contrarian experts were promoted, specifically to discredit “lockdown”. Just as with climate change denial, they were promoted directly to the public, bypassing the scientific literature where such positions routinely receive technical scrutiny.

You describe these experts as “deplatformed”, but had you actually heard of any of them before the pandemic? I hadn’t. They can still publish in the scientific literature just as they always did, and if anything they’ve been getting more coverage from the so-called MSM – Sunetra Gupta has been on the BBC, Mike Yeadon was promoted by the Telegraph’s James Delingpole, yet they weren’t public figures before the pandemic.

Certainly, the Big Tech platforms such as Goggle, YouToob, Twit-ter and Arsebook all went into panic mode and started restricting contrarian content – but those platforms’ moderator-to-audience ratios are tiny compared with a site like this, their audiences number from millions to billions, but their moderators number only hundreds to thousands, so around a million to one compared with thousands to one sites like this. Those platforms just don’t have the resources to moderate manually, so they deploy algorithms instead. So of course it’s looked very heavy handed, especially as it’s such a contrast to their earlier free-for-all.

And there’s also big money behind covid denial – 55 Tufton St for instance.

DeSmog – UK Covid Deniers