Featured Image

PETITION: No to mandatory contact tracing and government surveillance for the coronavirus! Sign the petition here.

May 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – No longer content with policing the flow of information through its search engine or YouTube, internet giant Google has taken steps to censor what people share through its private file-sharing service Google Drive, in the name of combatting COVID-19 misinformation.

Plandemic is an upcoming documentary that purports to discredit various aspects of the prevailing assumptions about, and the government response to, the COVID-19 outbreak. It argues, among other things, that the virus was created in a lab, and that the current panic is part of a “game” to “prevent the therapies until everyone is infected, then push the vaccines.”

The first part of the film was released online in early May and widely criticized by figures on both sides of the COVID-19 lockdown debate, including former New York Times investigative reporter Alex Berenson, for seizing on a few accurate pieces of information and weaving them with false claims into a narrative far more dramatic than the reality:

As part of Big Tech’s joint efforts to police medical misinformation on their platforms, Google has blocked Plandemic from YouTube, forcing the video’s promoters to resort to more roundabout means of sharing it, such as links to Google Drive uploads. However, Google has now gone so far as to delete those links as well, The Washington Post reported.

“Google took down the Drive file featuring the movie after the company was contacted by The Post,” according to the paper. “Health or medical content that promotes or encourages engaging in practices that may lead to serious physical or emotional harm in individuals or to a serious public health harm is prohibited on Google Docs and Drive, according to the company’s content policies.”

The prospect of Google preventing users from privately sharing content with one another via its productivity tools has shined a spotlight on the full extent of the control Google exerts over its platforms and services, and raised concerns over user freedom and privacy, wholly independent of Plandemic’s merits (or lack thereof). 

Google spokeswoman Alex Krasnof refused to tell the Post whether Google scans Drive files for objectionable content, stating only that the company “doesn’t go into details” about how its policies are enforced.

“For many Google Drive users, the service is their only file storage solution and they use it to save copies of videos and posts that have been deleted or censored on other platforms,” wrote Tom Parker at Reclaim the Net. “If this precedent continues, it could mean these users have their only copy of content that has been scrubbed from social media platforms taken down because they shared a link to those files with other people.”

The Post added that Google has intervened in the use of its productivity tools before, having previously blocked a Google Doc about a disputed study on the drug hydroxychloroquine promoted by Tesla head Elon Musk. 

Censorship on the world’s dominant internet platforms and services has been a growing problem over the past few years, leading to calls for government intervention that, to date, have not been answered.

On Tuesday, following reports that the Trump administration was considering the creation of a panel to review complaints of social media bias, Vice President Mike Pence told Breitbart News that President Donald Trump “has made it very clear that we are not going to tolerate censorship on the Internet and social media against conservatives.”