How a great part of social media vaccine censorship came to be steered by a small group of clueless Stanford undergrads, or: Why late-stage managerial bureaucracy will be the death of us
Thoughts on Matt Taibbi's latest Twitter Files revelations.
A funny thing is happening.
The more we learn about what drove the deeply bizarre policies of the years since 2020, the more vast sectors of the alt-Covid sphere seem to lose interest in these concrete matters, in favour of pursuing a whole host of increasingly extravagant theories about the pandemic. It’s very common to hear that Fauci’s emails and Hancock’s texts are irrelevant; the actual string-pullers – the real driving forces – are always said to stand a bit further offstage, just where we can’t see. The view behind the curtain just seems too banal and ordinary to explain all the sinister things that have happened. Nevertheless, this is the reality, and we really have to wrap our heads around it, if we ever hope to understand how the next mass virus panic is to be avoided.
The latest revelations come via the Twitter Files, namely Matt Taibbi’s long thread on The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine: Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of “True Stories”:
Anyone who’s been following the phenomenon of internet censorship will know about the Stanford Internet Observatory, “a cross-disciplinary program of research, teaching and policy engagement for the study of abuse in current information technologies, with a focus on social media.” Run out of Stanford University, the Observatory is basically a mass censorship advocacy organisation, which partners with a broad range of parties, including government organisations and tech firms, to form and enforce policy about what you can and can’t say on the internet. If you really want to understand one of the leading malign forces in social media today, I suggest you spend some time reading their materials.
In early 2021, the Observatory launched the Virality Project in partnership with various other universities and organisations, as a successor to the Observatory’s prior Election Integrity Project from 2020. Having helped ensure Biden’s election, they would now pave thew way for maximum vaccination, by managing social media posts about the vaccines: