September 15, 2021

"And while large accounts specifically known for spreading anti-vaccine messages can be identified and taken down, it’s harder for TikTok, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook (which owns Instagram) to police..."

"... tens of thousands of smaller accounts that might mix in one or two anti-vaccine messages among their normal wellness posts.... Evie Kevish, a CrossFitter and 'certified juice therapist,' who frequently posts on Instagram about which vegetables and fruits she’s juicing, wore a shirt emblazoned with 'VACCINES ARE POISON' in a video she posted on June 27. Tania Khazaal, known online as 'Tania the Herbalist,' often posts self-portraits with long captions about eating non-GMO foods and refusing any ingestible products that contain fluoride, alcohol and aluminum. She encourages her nearly 50,000 followers to 'eliminate pills and introduce plants.' She’s also been posting vaccine-skeptical content since April 2020. In an email, Khazaal said she wasn’t against vaccines, but believed that skeptical voices were being silenced. 'I’m not anti anything. I’m pro-choice and pro-freedom,' she said.... [I]t’s those with anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 followers — sometimes known as 'microinfluencers' — who are believed within the marketing industry to have an especially outsize impact on their followers.... [S]ocial media users 'don’t trust celebs or experts with more than 100,000 followers anymore.' Micro-influencers, on the other hand — and their even more niche cousins, nanoinfluencers, with fewer than 10,000 followers — can seem less sold-out and more authentic, approachable or relatable.... "

From "How wellness influencers are fueling the anti-vaccine movement/For years, the wellness world has been entangled with vaccine hesitancy. Amid covid-19, the consequences are starker than ever" (WaPo).

So the pressure is on to censor the successful bloggers. You can use the term "microinfluencers," but having 10,000 to 50,000 followers as a blogger is great. And those <10,000 places are important too. 

I blog at Blogger, where I don't see a "followers" number, only the number of actual readers each day, so I don't know how my size in the sphere of social media compares with people like Tania the Herbalist, but I consider that level of readership tremendously import in social media. And you can see from that WaPo article that those with great consolidated power in media feel threatened by the free market in information and opinion that comes from all these unruly, free-wheeling speakers. 

The vaccine is such a useful foothold in the censorship effort. You can point to statements that are clearly  wrong and get a lot of leverage for arguing that vast harm is occurring. These earnest assertions and stray musings are killing people! 

I'll just earnestly muse that the idea is to soften up the general population to censorship. How hard will it be to get ordinary Americans to see the microinfluencers and nanoinfluencers as vermin mucking up the purity of the information supply we've all got to consume?

Ironically, it's a purity fetish that drives anti-vaxxers. I'd say: Don't let purity freaks freak you out. 

38 comments:

Owen said...

So depressing. The whole top-down model of “information purity” is wrong. As writers it is our responsibility to *ourselves* (as well as to our “hypothetical reader” and any actual readers in the world) to be as honest and accurate as we can. But ultimately it is as readers that We owe it to ourselves to be skeptical, critical, evaluating every claim for the least whiff of bullshit. If we outsource our “purity testing” to Jack Dorsey or Marc Zuckerberg or their gigantic bureaucracies of MiniTru, then we get exactly the punishment we deserve. We are self-blinded and can be led, will be led, wherever they want.

So I say, let a thousand juice zealots bloom. I’ll figure out what if anything to buy in what they offer.

gilbar said...

refusing any ingestible products that contain fluoride
Well, duh!

Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream
Children's ice cream!...You know when fluoridation began?...1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy??

we can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

rehajm said...

It's true. The messaging from the crossfit juice herbalist anti-vaxxers is crowding out messaging from the medical and scientific community's evidence-based anti-vaxxers.

Bruce Hayden said...

What bothers me is how blatant they have become. Yes, they purport to be censoring in order to protect the country from misinformation about COVID-19, but their “science” is sketchy at best, and that was preceded by censoring those who had the temerity to claim that Trump actually beat Biden in those 5-6 key states, and Biden only won through massive election fraud - which most everyone here, except for You Know Who, know actually happened. How did we slide, in a mere year and a half, into this situation where these massive companies, protected by CDA’s sec 230 Safe Harbor, based on their purported lack of editorial control, are now massively and blatantly censoring the content their platforms publish and disburse?

Tim said...

I am certainly not anti-vaccine. I took both my shots as early as I could get them. But I am 63 and a heart patient. The vaccine made sense for me. I also advised my grandchildren NOT to take the vaccine. Much more chance of harm than good. Every person needs to look at what their own situation is and decide for themselves if the vaccine makes sense or not. Pretty simple.

Kai Akker said...

Maybe those idiotic influencers and anti-vaxxers have found a nut after all.

Singapore the latest -- 80% vaccinated but a new wave of CCP virus that rivals their big one last year. They expect it to worsen.

What's the answer? Of course, stop talking to each other. And the 80% level of vaccination is obviously too low. Must do more, more.

What insane folly we are in.

walter said...

I suppose it's just too much nuance to distinguish between anti-all vax and anti-novel, liability free spike protein installation.
Just all purity freaks.

Craig said...

It's incredibly sad how commonplace censorship has become in this country.

Lem said...

I heard the Steve Harvey morning show, this morning, repeat the CNN story that Joe Rogan took horse dewormer for his Covid.

Fake News is on Emergency Authorization / Steroids.

Chris said...

Maybe people are not anti vax so much as they are anti this "vax" which isn't a vaccine at all but a therapeutic. The CDC has even admitted as much as they have changed their definition of a vaccine. So we have a therapeutic with no long term data, control groups that were removed from the experiment by giving them the therapeutic after all, increasing amounts of evidence that shows that the efficacy is way lower than they thought, and evidence that these therapeutics are also harmful to some.

RNB said...

This is getting a heckuva workout this year:

“When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, ‘This you may not read, this you must not know,’ the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives.” -- Robt. A. Heinlein

mikee said...

Remember 2020 elec?ion. It wasn't just the results that were the problem, it was the rule changes without authority, and the destruction of verifiable auditable voting, that was the problem.

It isn't the vaccine, it is the unearned, unauthorized, authoritarianism that's the problem.

Mike Sylwester said...

I would like to see a demographic analysis of the people who actually censor information for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and the other Tech Tyrants.

I expect that the analysis would show that the average censor is a recent college graduate who majored in grievance studies. That group is deciding what we all may and may not read.

Amadeus 48 said...

This all a warm-up (heh) for the Great Climate Change Power Grab, coming soon to your life.

Wind Turbines! Huge fields of sun panels! No nukes! No coal! No petroleum! Limited lighting in the dark! Minimum heating in the cold! Minimum cooling in the heat! You must take transportation on defined routes on defined schedules with herds of others! No private cars (except for government officials) because of power constraints!

No discussion will be allowed of these emergency measures. It is too important to save the planet, comrade. Only the purest messages will be allowed. All the rest is silence.

Milwaukee said...

If we had more honest and direct communication from "authority" sources alternative sources wouldn't be so appealing. The Fauci crew has overblown this from the get go. Had we treated the virus as a slightly more virulent virus than usual, we would have weathered the storm, like Sweden. When hydroxychloroquin and then ivermectin were dismissed in such cavalier and outrageous fashion my refusal to take their supposed remedy became steadfast.
They didn't create the alternative news sources but they do drive up demand for alternative news.

RAH said...

The amount of quack medical cures has existed as long as there are humans . Fromm leaches to our own western past with quack cures being promoted. These wellness people are just some of the same. Most of it is nonsense. Some may be good. As always make up your own mind.

Achilles said...

The problem is that the people pushing vaccine mandates have been caught lying so many times nobody believes them anymore.

If you have credibility people will believe what you say and you don't have to resort to censorship.

Howard said...

Some libtards are just as batshit crazy as mainstream republican trailer trash. I'm sure that gives your cratered self esteem a slight boost. Good Times.

Big Mike said...

Censorship is always frightening. Censorship done “purely for our own good” is utterly terrifying.

Mike of Snoqualmie said...

This has been going on since the 1980s. It was called Political Correctness. You can't say that because it would be politically incorrect even if it's true. The Left want to control us, they're just using bigger guns now.

Joe Smith said...

Tik Tok has no interest in editing/censoring content if it hurts the U.S.

It is owned by the commies.

This is not hard to understand...

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

It’s not disinformation control, it’s not selective censorship, and it’s not purity of information. It’s totalitarianism. Full stop. Progressives, statists, socialists, marxists and anarchists have found common cause in stifling speech. Our God-given right to speak our peace is the last of our core freedoms that enjoyed overwhelming support among the public. We are watching a concerted effort to force us to relinquish that right or at least for the tech overlords to take it away where possible. Progressives are an existential threat to This Republic.

JAORE said...

"I'll just earnestly muse that the idea is to soften up the general population to censorship. "

When you see the vast and draconian measures we have accepted in the name of public health already, censorship is pretty much a given.

Achilles said...

Howard said...

Some libtards are just as batshit crazy as mainstream republican trailer trash. I'm sure that gives your cratered self esteem a slight boost. Good Times.

You aren't any smarter than Joe Biden.

Less so in fact.

Bruce Hayden said...

“ Maybe people are not anti vax so much as they are anti this "vax" which isn't a vaccine at all but a therapeutic”

Except that the left controls the government and the language. The Wikipedia entry for “vaccine” was tweaked sometime after the new mRNA vaccines were announced to include them. You check the WayBack machine for when the virus hit this country (~1/20), and they weren’t considered “vaccines” back then. Then, about a week or so ago, very possibly in preparation for mandated “vaccinations”, the Biden FDA modified its definitions to include these therapeutics as “vaccines”. Of course, they are still experimental, only available through EUAs, because there are no FDA approved therapeutics (which is the reason for their war against Ivermectin) and these mandated “vaccines” have not been FDA approved. It all ties together because the EUAs prevent the manufacturers of the “vaccines” from being sued for side effects from their “vaccines”, side effects that look worse and worse, as more and more of the population has been “vaccinated”. Never fear though, the problem goes away with the CDC no longer counting deaths WITH the vaccines, just like earlier, they were counting deaths WITH the virus, and not OF the virus.

Lurker21 said...

What's fueling vaccine resistance is more the fact that you can't trust what the government is saying. Discussion of problems with the vaccines has been suppressed. So has information about alternative treatments.

What would be advisable now is a "third way" campaign. One that doesn't demand "Get vaxxed" or "Don't get vaxxed," but rather encourages people to make the right decisions for themselves based on such relevant factual data are available. Talk radio guys who reflexively opposed the vaccines across the board didn't do anyone any favors.

Another anti-vaxx radio host died with COVID. "Know thyself" would have been a good motto for him. If you are over 60 and obese, being a vaxx resister isn't a good option for you personally. Point out the weaknesses and falsehoods in the government propaganda, but realistically assess your risks and encourage your listeners to do the same.

That was always a flaw in libertarianism and in Ayn Rand. They didn't take into account the fact that not everyone is at the same place in life with the same capabilities and possibilities.

Anyway, we'll know the government is serious when "anti-vaxx" becomes "anti-vaxxx."

Anthony said...

The problem is that the people pushing vaccine mandates have been caught lying so many times nobody believes them anymore.

If you have credibility people will believe what you say and you don't have to resort to censorship.


Nail, head, and hammer.

Chuck said...

Tim said...
I am certainly not anti-vaccine. I took both my shots as early as I could get them. But I am 63 and a heart patient. The vaccine made sense for me. I also advised my grandchildren NOT to take the vaccine. Much more chance of harm than good. Every person needs to look at what their own situation is and decide for themselves if the vaccine makes sense or not. Pretty simple.


So let's have a micro-debate. No big tech companies to censor us. No state actors to violate our First Amendment rights.

You say that you "advised [your] grandchildren NOT to take the vaccine. Much more chance of harm than good."

How old are your grandchildren?
What is your expertise in virology, epidemiology, pharmacology and/or infectious diseases that puts you in a position to "advise"?
On what basis do you claim that there is "[m]uch more chance of harm than good [by taking one of the approved vaccines for COVID]"?

Yancey Ward said...

They will come for your blog, too, Althouse. They came for Mark Wauck's blog on Blogger- he was forced onto Substack to evade the censors at Google. The big media companies and the Democrats are now trying to find a way to get Substack taken down, and I wouldn't bet against them succeeding there, too.

traditionalguy said...

The eminent head virologist of French medicine was fired for his speaking out about the emergency approval of the mRNA altering shots being pushed as if they are vaccines but are not. He says that only the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a real vaccine that works like a traditional flu vaccine to train the immune system. But the media has slandered the J&J vaccine continually to suppress it. And the J&J vaccine Booster shot is suddenly illegal. And the media pretends that the mRNA altering shots are the only ones.

Maybe the reason the mRNA shots are being rejected by so many people is that they are not stupid.

tim maguire said...

The idea behind freedom of speech is that the answer to bad speech is more speech. Truth will out.

If these censorship efforts made are in good faith, then they have no faith whatsoever in the durability of the truth. They seem to think it is a fragile flower that must be protected from the winds and harsh sun.

The realty, of course, is that they have no faith in the staying power of their own position because they chose their position for reasons other than truth value. They are not supporting truth, they are supporting their narrative, which may also be the truth, but, if so, that's just coincidental.

TheOne Who Is Not Obeyed said...

Is someone who is skeptical of the mRNA vaccines and the government propaganda for them truly "anti-"vaccination? If someone has taken all of their prescribed shots up to now and balks at the dishonesty and pure propaganda - not to mention fascism - of the pro-mRNA people, I wouldn't say that person is "anti-"vaxx. Maybe they're anti-coercion, anti-fascist, anti-government, but it would be wrong to call them 'anti-vaccination'. And that is who most of these people are. Of course there are many of the truly anti-vaccination types from the Left (*cough* Robert Kennedy *cough*) in the mix, but the vast majority of those who have the jeebies about the jab have taken all of their other shots.

And until the public health Commissariat can explain to these people why the mRNA jab is just as ok as all of those other jabs, they will remain hesitant. Especially since the Wu Flu is now past being pandemic and is simply endemic, and the public health Commissariat continues to lie to the public of the COVID dangers.

walter said...

Framing as a vaccine not only makes them sound familiar, it glosses over the greater scrutiny a gene therapy would...garner...

Chris said...

People want to call me anti-vax, which is of course a LIE, and demonstrably false. I just had a tetanus vaccine booster (get one every 10 years like clockwork because I work with a lot of metal and rusty metal at that). I'm also going for a shingles vaccine soon. So, I'm not anti-vax, just anti covid shot. If a disease is treatable (and this coronavirus is) then there is no need for an emergency exception to force everyone to get this shot. I do want to get a reliable antibody test if there is one because having natural immunity would be preferable to anything else. Especially leaky cytotoxic spike proteins.

Skippy Tisdale said...

"The amount of quack medical cures has existed as long as there are humans . Fromm (sic*)leaches"

Actually, leeches are once again being used in medicine. They are a great way to keep blood flowing through reattached fingers and such.

The more you know...

Skippy Tisdale said...

"Some libtards are just as batshit crazy as mainstream republican trailer trash. I'm sure that gives your cratered self esteem a slight boost. Good Times."

This is why when Howard pots, I hang on his every word. He's so dreamy!

Yancey Ward said...

Why don't you answer first, Chuck- what are your credentials?

Narr said...

As a herd, we're being programmed to OBEY. As far back as the 1990s, cars were routinely stopped and searched on public back roads, without warrant, near the state prison--the War on Drugs being the excuse back then. No ACLU came forth, and most people don't believe it happened. (No I'm not an eyewitness but I've talked to some.)

It's otiose to point out that the PATRIOT Act resulted in more and deeper surveillance of the citizenry than of our attackers and potential attackers. The whole TSA apparatus is security theater, a boondoggle for feebs, but a good way to accustom people to routine delays, humiliation, and acquiescence in the face of uniformed authority.

And by now it's clear that 9/11 was an inside job inasmuch as Bush knowingly conspired with the Saudis to cover up their deep involvement.

The PATRIOT Act was precautionary fascism by the Organs and their Uniparty cabals; Big Tech has not missed the lesson and wants to impose precautionary health fascism as a prophylactic.

The Therapeutic State is as real as the Deep State--if they aren't now the same.