Big Tech Alliance Targets Covid-19 “Misinformation,” Links it to “Extremism,” Calls for Content Censorship

Big Tech Alliance Targets Covid-19 “Misinformation,” Links it to “Extremism,” Calls for Content Censorship | Cindy Harper

Big Tech alliance Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFTC) research “partner” Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) has published an article revisiting the pandemic, always, of course, in the context of “misinformation.”

GIFTC’s founding members are Microsoft, Facebook, X (Twitter), and YouTube (Google), while “general members” include these four and pretty much every tech company you’ve ever heard of, from Amazon and Airbnb to BitChute and Giphy.

GIFTC has previously come under criticism for censorship practices without oversight, whereas GIFTC now goes after “Covid misinformation” – including by conflating it with extremism, and is urging “interventions to address the spread of problematic content.”

The piece claims that its goal is to understand the mechanisms that allow for “problematic information” to disseminate across platforms and then spread between the world’s regions, all for the sake of being able to stop that “diffusion.”

It looks into things like the geographical location of different participants in the “diffusion,” their cultural and linguistic similarities, as well as thematic similarity of content (such as religious and political themes).

The study also clearly positions itself ideologically when it, in passing, refers to former US and Brazilian presidents Trump and Bolsonaro as having “extremist predispositions.”

With that in mind, the choice of topics – the pandemic, misinformation, as well as “methodology and findings” become easier to understand.

Regarding the first, the authors chose to look into Facebook groups and organizations and individuals like Doctors for Truth and microbiologist Didier Raoult, collectively accused of sharing “false and misleading content” about coronavirus, vaccines, masks, hydroxychloroquine, etc., in one form or other.

And, the goal is to find out what helped this information travel from “Global North” to “Global South.”

Soon enough, what’s supposed to be countered thanks to the findings from this “research” is referred to as extremism in online networks, suggesting that Covid “misinformation” qualifies.

Because the “findings” show that interplay tied to language, culture, and themes covered by content shared by various groups is not easy to untangle and go after, the recommendation is to come up with “targeted network-informed interventions” that would prevent information flowing from one part of the world to another.

“By identifying key factors influencing tie formation, policymakers, and platform moderators can implement targeted interventions to mitigate the spread of extremist content,” those behind the article said.

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