Two anonymous whistleblowers from Facebook reportedly came forward to Project Veritas to reveal that the social media platform is newly curbing content surrounding vaccine concerns. They have also leaked internal documents allegedly proving that an algorithm to censor these posts is in the works.
According to the leaked documents, posts surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine are allegedly given a “Vaccine Hesitancy Score.” The algorithm tags posts that appear to be about the vaccine and then determines if it’s spreading false information, expressing doubt or promoting vaccine alternatives.
“And then based on that score, will demote or leaving the comment alone based on the content within the comment,” one of the alleged whistleblowers told founder James O’Keefe. Should the algorithm not work on a particular tagged post, a human rater will reportedly make a decision on the post. A “demotion” is equivalent to being shadow banned by the platform.
These beta tests aren’t just for English posts. They’ve also supposedly tested the algorithm for up to 60 languages. It also applies to Instagram posts, since Facebook purchased the platform in 2012.
“What would happen if this was scaled larger and scaled to Twitter and the internet as a whole is way worse than anything that could happen from me getting fired from my job,” the whistleblower said.
The other whistleblower is allegedly the same source that revealed that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is an anti-vaxxer himself. He said they often talk about all facets of opinion regarding the vaccine within the office.
“Why is it okay for us to have these conversations at work as adults and not have somebody step in an say ‘Hey you need to stop talking about that’?” the whistleblower said. Yet, on the platform itself those same conversations are being censored. “It’s very ironic.”
In a statement earlier this month, Facebook announced its new policy surrounding vaccine content. They promised to “Encourag[e] people to share their support for vaccines,” “address content that could discourage people from getting vaccinated” and “reduce [discouraging vaccination posts’] distribution on Facebook.” Already, they’ve seen a 10% increase in vaccine acceptance since January.
According to Facebook, the number one reason users are hesitant to get the vaccine is concern about its side effects. The number two reason is users don’t trust the COVID-19 vaccine at all.
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CDC drops 5-day COVID-19 isolation guidelines
According to a statement released Friday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is no longer necessary to isolate for five days after testing positive for COVID-19.
The new guidance does however tell people to stay at home if they are sick, but can return to work or school when they are feeling better or have been fever-free for 24 hours. These are the same guidance given for flu and other respiratory illnesses.
“Our goal here is to protect those at risk for severe illness while also reassuring folks that these recommendations are simple, clear, easy-to-understand and can be followed,” said CDC Director Mandy Cohen in a statement to media on Friday.
The updated guidance “reflects the progress we’ve made in protecting against severe illness from COVID,” she added. Before Friday’s update, the CDC called for people who test positive for the virus to “stay home for at least five days and isolate from others in your home.” The recommendation had been implemented in late 2021.
“The pandemic has been over for several months, and though there was an uptick this winter, with over 20,000 hospitalizations and 1,500 deaths per week at one point, it is now diminishing,” Dr. Mandy Cohen, head of the CDC, earlier this month in an interview with Fox News medical contributor Dr. Marc Siegel.
Fox News reports that as of the most recently reported week ending Feb. 24, the share of administered COVID tests with positive results was 7.4%, a 0.6% decrease from the prior week, per CDC data. Out of all emergency department visits, 1.8% of them were diagnosed with COVID, a 0.9% week-over-week decline. Additionally, COVID-related hospitalizations decreased 10.3% from the prior week. The share of all U.S. deaths due to COVID was 2.1%, which reflected an 8.7% decrease.
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