“TWITTER FILES #19: The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of “True Stories”– Matt Taibbi, journalist, “TWITTER FILES #19 – The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine: Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of ‘True Stories,” March 17, 2023, https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1636729166631432195, https://archive.is/r9T6s
“….even ‘worrisome jokes’: All were characterized as “potential violations” or disinformation ‘events’ by the Virality Project, a sweeping, cross-platform effort to monitor billons of social media posts by Stanford University, federal agencies, and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs.
“….Virality Project emails were found in the #TwitterFiles describing ‘stories of true vaccine side effects’ as actionable content….the Virality Project in 2021 worked with government to launch a pan-industry monitoring plan for Covid-related content. At least six major Internet platforms were “onboarded” to the same JIRA ticketing system, daily sending millions of items for review.
“Though the Virality Project reviewed content on a mass scale for Twitter, Google/YouTube, Facebook/Instagram, Medium, TikTok, and Pinterest, it knowingly targeted true material and legitimate political opinion, while often being factually wrong itself.
“….On February 5, 2021, just after Joe Biden took office, Stanford wrote to Twitter to discuss the Virality Project. By the 17th, Twitter agreed to join and got its first weekly report on “anti-vax disinformation,” which contained numerous true stories.
“February 22, 2021: Stanford welcomed Twitter veterans like Yoel Roth and Brian Clarke
“….VP soon gained ‘visibility’ to ‘alternative platforms such as Gab, Parler, Telegram, and Gettr’ – near-total surveillance of the social media landscape.
“Through July of 2020, Twitter’s internal guidance on Covid-19 required a story be ‘demonstrably false’ or contain an ‘assertion of fact’ to be actioned.
“But the Virality Project, in partnership with the CDC, pushed different standards. VP told Twitter that ‘true stories that could fuel hesitancy,’….should be considered .Standard Vaccine Misinformation on Your Platform….VP routinely framed real testimonials about side effects as misinformation….By March of 2021, Twitter personnel were aping VP language”
“The Virality Project helped pioneer the gauging of ‘disinformation’ by audience response….VP warned against people ‘just asking questions’….It encouraged platforms to target people, not posts, using Minority Report-style ‘pre-crime’ logic.
“….VP was repeatedly, extravagantly wrong.
“In a chilling irony, the VP ran searches for the term ‘surveillance state.’ As an unaccountable state-partnered bureaucracy secretly searched it out, the idea that ‘vaccines are part of a surveillance stat’” won its own thoughtcrime bucket: ‘conspiracy.’
“After about a year, on April 26, 2022, the VP issued a report calling for a ‘rumor-control mechanism to address nationally trending narratives,’ and a ‘Misinformation and Disinformation Center of Excellence’ to be housed within CISA, at the Department of Homeland Security. The next day, April 27, 2022, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced in a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing that a ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ had been created…
“….Even in its final report, VP claimed it was misinformation to suggest the vaccine does not prevent transmission, or that governments are planning to introduce vaccine passports. Both things turned out to be true.
“The Virality Project was specifically not based on ‘assertions of fact,’ but public submission to authority, acceptance of narrative, and pronouncements by figures like Anthony Fauci.
“The project’s central/animating concept was, ‘You can’t handle the truth.’ One of its four core partners, Pentagon-funded Graphika, explained….’This continual process of seeding doubt and uncertainty in authoritative voices…leads to a society that finds it too challenging to identify what’s true or false.’”
For this reason, the CDC-partnered project focused often on disinformation “events” involving Fauci, saying “release of Fauci’s emails foments distrust,” and deriding assertions he “misled the public.”
“….From the start, Stanford explained the Virality Project would essentially continue the work of its 2020 Election Integrity Partnership. ‘The same JIRA system from the EIP is up and running,’ they wrote.”
“….To recap: America’s information mission went from counterterrorism abroad, to stopping ”foreign interference’ from reaching domestic audiences, to 80% domestic content, much of it true.”
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