12 state attorneys general demand Facebook, Twitter crack down on vaccine ‘misinformation’
April 27, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The attorneys general of twelve states have signed a joint letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, calling on the world’s top social networks to do more to suppress negative claims about COVID-19 vaccines.
“The people and groups spreading falsehoods and misleading Americans about the safety of coronavirus vaccines are threatening the health of our communities, slowing progress in getting our residents protected from the virus, and undermining economic recovery in our states,” declares the letter, spearheaded by Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and co-signed by his counterparts in Delaware, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
Given “anti-vaxxers’ reliance on your platforms, you are uniquely positioned to prevent the spread of misinformation about coronavirus vaccines that poses a direct threat to the health and safety of millions of Americans in our states and that will prolong our road to recovery,” the law enforcement officials continue. But Facebook “has not taken sufficient action to identify violations and enforce these guidelines by removing and labelling misinformation and banning repeat offenders.”
Specifically, the attorneys general want Facebook and Twitter to “remove from all their platforms the accounts of prominent ‘anti-vaxxers’ who have repeatedly violated the companies’ terms of service”; “consistently apply misinformation labels and popups on Facebook pages and groups that discuss vaccines or COVID-19”; and to stop allowing so-called “anti-vaxxers” to “skirt its policy of removing misinformation that health experts have debunked, by failing to prevent them from using video and streaming tools like Facebook Live and sites like Bitchute, Rumble, and Brighteon to evade detection.”
Approximately 95.9 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, but hesitancy persists among much of the population. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found, for instance, that 73% of Americans say they are unwilling to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, use of which was temporarily paused due to concerns about blood clots.
While many officeholders and media figures blame online “misinformation” for lingering vaccine hesitancy, considerably less contemplation has been spent on how the government’s own actions contribute to mistrust, from public health officials’ contradictory guidances on every aspect of the pandemic (including masks, lockdowns, and social distancing) to mixed messaging about vaccinated people still potentially transmitting the virus to others.
In addition, COVID vaccine skeptics point to the fact that clinical trials for the currently-authorized COVID-19 vaccines were performed in less than a year, when such trials traditionally take a minimum of two to four years. One of the innovations of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed was conducting various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, but that does not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on its own — to just three months apiece.
Vaccine defenders note that the number of deaths reported to have followed the COVID vaccines is an extremely small percentage of the overall vaccine recipients, and that being listed in the VAERS reporting system does not necessarily establish a causal link to the vaccine. But skeptics argue that leaders’ widespread preference for pressuring Americans into compliance and shutting down debate on the subject, as exemplified by the Tong letter, evidences a lack of interest in earning Americans’ confidence by getting to the bottom of those deaths.
Apart from potential health risks, some of the COVID-19 vaccines carry ethical concerns for many, particularly religious and pro-life Americans, due to the use of cells derived from aborted babies in their creation and/or testing. To help pro-lifers make an informed decision, the Charlotte Lozier Institute has released a detailed breakdown of all the various COVID-19 vaccines in development and which ones used or did not use abortion-derived cells at any stage of the process.