Big Brother Watch releases the Ministry of Truth report, exposing the inner workings of Orwellian government units spying on journalists, politicians … and you.

By Paul D. Thacker

Since the pandemic’s beginning in early 2020, an increasing number of online discussions have been shut down by social media companies—labeled disinformation or “conspiracy theory”, although how these companies determine the truth remains a black box. In many cases, social media companies got it wrong and censored information as false, when it was actually true: natural immunity does protect against the virus, COVID-19 vaccines never stopped transmission, and evidence shows that the pandemic might have started from a lab accident in Wuhan China.

But it’s now becoming clear that it was governments that were working behind the scenes to shut down public debate, communicating secretly with social media companies and urging them to censor views that criticized government policy. In one example, a Facebook fact checker with a long history of getting their facts wrong labeled as “misleading” an investigation I wrote about problems with Pfizer’s clinical trial for the COVID-19 vaccine. We recently learned, from internal White House emails, that this fact check happened after Facebook had struck a deal with the Biden administration to attack “true information” that ran counter to the administration’s own vaccine policies.

The same government intrusion into social media companies is also happening in the UK, according to a new report Big Brother Watch released over the weekend: “Ministry of Truth: the secretive government units spying on your speech.” Referencing internal government documents, the report documents secretive Whitehall units that have been monitoring online critics of government policies—including MPs, academics, journalists, human rights campaigners and the public—all under the guise of combatting “misinformation.”

Big Brother Watch is a UK civil liberties group that works to defend privacy and roll back the growing surveillance state. To discuss their new report, I caught up with Silkie Carlo, the group’s director.

“During the pandemic, you can listen to people’s personal experiences, and to the best medical academic at Oxford,” Carlo explained. “But this is happening through a small number of social media platforms that are in bed with the government which has accumulated secretive resources to control those platforms, beyond the limits of the law.”

Speaking with me from Big Brother Watch’s office in Westminster, London, Carlo noted that labeling some speech as “misinformation” has become a convenient vehicle for the British government to investigate and denigrate views that are critical of government policies. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Link to article in Disinformation Chronicles by Paul Thacker



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