‘You Can’t Handle the Truth’: The Twitter Files & ‘The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine’

March 17th, 2023 8:54 PM

Twitter actually censored true content to protect trust in supposed “authoritative sources” like ex-National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, according to installment nineteen of The Twitter Files.

Journalist Matt Taibbi exposes in The Twitter Files #19 what he called “The Great Covid-19 Lie machine,” which consisted of a combination of tyrannical government agencies, Stanford University’s Virality Project (VP) “and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs” monitoring social media companies to censor COVID-19 content. These groups worked, often in a concerted effort, to suppress content that promoted natural immunity, critiqued the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine passports and that pointed out breakthrough cases in those that had received COVID-19 vaccinations.  Some of the content that was censored not only turned out to be true in retrospect, but was admittedly determined to be true by the very groups involved in suppressing the content. As Taibbi put it, “The [Virality P]roject's central/animating concept was, ‘You can't handle the truth.’”

“The level of hubris from those involved in the ‘Great Covid-19 Lie Machine’ is stunning,” stated MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris. “The idea that anyone, let alone a university and government officials, would knowingly suppress information regarding the health and safety of Americans is beyond the pale.”

Virality Project (VP), a coalition of research entities, was particularly active, partnering with the government “to launch a pan-industry monitoring plan for Covid-related content,” Taibbi tweeted. VP worked with multiple government agencies, including the Office of the Surgeon General and the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, (GEC) which was also involved in targeting individuals, according to Taibbi. The now-defunct Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) was also formed by the Homeland Security Department (DHS) just after VP pushed for a misinformation entity under DHS control.

Six major internet platforms were “onboarded” to a JIRA ticketing system (Jira is a software development tool). VP reviewed content “on a mass scale for Twitter, Google/YouTube, Facebook/Instagram, Medium, TikTok, and Pinterest,” added Taibbi. VP even “knowingly targeted true material and legitimate political opinion, while often being factually wrong itself.”

VP “warned” about users “‘just asking questions,’” Taibbi stated, and pioneered the idea that “disinformation” is determined by how much audience response there is. VP also urged targeting of specific people like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 

And what’s worse, “VP was repeatedly, extravagantly wrong,” Taibbi tweeted.

Taibbi wrote that VP “accelerated the evolution of digital censorship,” targeting truth for political reasons, and was a “smash success” as an “Orwellian proof-of-concept” with government, academia, and corporate competitors all working to censor.

Twitter agreed to join VP at Stanford’s request in February 2021, soon after Joe Biden took office, and “Twitter veterans” like Yoel Roth joined the JIRA system.

Twitter’s internal policy supposedly only allowed the platform to censor “demonstrably false” information through July 2020, according to Taibbi. But, Taibbi noted, VP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) pushed different standards. Instead, they labeled “‘true stories’” and such true predictions or events as vaccine passports and vaccine side effects as “misinformation.”

Taibbi noted an example where “VP addressed what it called the ‘vaccine passport narrative,’ saying ‘concerns’ over such programs ‘have driven a larger anti-vaccination narrative about the loss of rights and freedoms.’ This was framed as a ‘misinformation’ event.”

Another example was when the CDC changed how it counted COVID-19 deaths, Taibbi wrote. In that instance, VP flagged individual posts, calling them “hypocrisy.” In yet another example, VP searched out the term “surveillance state” and called it a “conspiracy” to classify vaccines as being a part of a surveillance state. Taibbi called VP’s label “a chilling irony.”

“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,” tweeted Taibbi. “Both things turned out to be true.”

Criticisms of ex-NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, regardless of their accuracy, were also particularly targeted for censorship by Graphika and the CDC. “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,” Taibbi tweeted. It was an extension of the Election Integrity Project’s 2020 work

But it wasn’t just Twitter. VP even gained “visibility” to surveil Gab, Parler, Telegram, and Gettr, Taibbi noted. And Facebook recently admitted it censored true content.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech and government agencies be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.