Facebook trying to censor COVID-19 vaccine skeptics: report

Facebook is reportedly trying to silence COVID-19 vaccine skeptics by using an algorithm that targets and demotes their comments on the site, the latest in Big Tech’s woke censorship push.

Two anonymous Facebook employees leaked internal memos to Project Veritas that purport to show that the social media giant has tested a beta version of its algorithm to track down vaccine hesitant users.

The algorithm was being run on 1.5 percent of Facebook and Instagram’s nearly 3.8 billion worldwide users, according to the leaked documents.

The vaccine hesitancy ratings are divided into tiers zero, one and two, according to the leaked documents. Comments in tier zero are an explicit violation of Facebook policy while those in tier one are counted as “Alarmism & Criticism,” according to the documents obtained by Project Veritas.

James O'Keefe, founder chairman and CEO of Project Veritas.
The Facebook whistleblowers alerted Project Veritas about the new algorithm.
Matthew McDermott

Tier two comments are “Indirect Vaccine Discouragement,” which include “shocking stories” that may deter others from taking the vaccine — even if they’re true, the documents show.

The algorithm would then assign comments in such tiers a “vaccine hesitancy” or a “VH Score,” the documents said, and could be hidden from the “most relevant” comments section or even removed altogether.

“Based on that VH score, we will demote or leave the comment alone depending on the content within the comment,” an anonymous whistleblower told James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas.

People receiving doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The vaccine hesitancy algorithm was being tested on 1.5 percent of Facebook and Instagram users.
AFP via Getty Images

“They’re trying to control this content before it even makes it onto your page, before you even see it,” a whistleblower added.

One of the leaked documents is titled “Vaccine Hesitancy Comment Demotion.” Its executive summary states the goal is to “drastically reduce user exposure to vaccine hesitancy (VH) in comments.”

The 15-page document adds that “reducing the visibility of these comments represents another significant opportunity for us to remove barriers to vaccination that users on the platform may potentially encounter.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
In March, Facebook added labels to posts about vaccines to counter misinformation.
PA Images via Getty Images

The document added that the algorithm was the only tool Facebook had at the time to address “the high prevalence of vaccine hesitancy in Health comments,” and that a better “detection” tool would be implemented when available.

In a statement to The Post, a Facebook spokesperson said: “We proactively announced this policy on our company blog and also updated our help center with this information.”

Facebook has acknowledged that it may reduce the visibility of content that may not violate company policy but discourages someone from getting vaccinated by sharing information out of context, for example.

Facebook logo is reflected in a drop on a syringe needle.
Facebook has come under fire for allowing COVID-19 misinformation to spread despite the algorithms.

In March, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would add labels to posts about vaccines to counter misinformation.

“For example, we’re adding a label on posts that discuss the safety of COVID-19 vaccines that notes COVID-19 vaccines go through tests for safety and effectiveness before they’re approved,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Despite the company’s recent efforts, it and other social media giants have come under fire from lawmakers and watchdogs during the pandemic for allowing COVID-19 misinformation to spread rampantly on the platform.

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