Facebook Bans LifesiteNews For Spreading COVID Misinformation

Facebook Bans LifesiteNews For Spreading COVID Misinformation May 6, 2021

 

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Already kicked off YouTube for spreading misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines, the far right outlet LifesiteNews has now been banned from Facebook.

LifesiteNews Marketing Director is quoted in an article on the outlet’s website this week saying that the ban was not surprising, and that they had known for months that it was coming:

“Facebook has been silencing any voice that goes against their beliefs and agenda,” continued Roberts. “Our LifeSiteNews Facebook page has been removed simply because we have shared reports of doctors, nurses, expert researchers, and even the former Pfizer VP speaking out against the COVID shots. We’ve also been tagged for the numerous articles we have shared making the connection between the COVID shots, and really all vaccines, and aborted baby cell lines.” 

Religion News Service reports more on why LifesiteNews was allegedly banned from Facebook:

Facebook allegedly cited at least one article from April 9 — titled “COVID vaccines can be deadly for some” — as an example of content that triggered the removal of the page. The article, which remains on LifeSiteNews’ website, appears to be a repost from a blog titled “The Dark Side of Vaccines” and authored by a self-described “health educator and wellness consultant.”

The article is misleading: It cited anecdotal reports of people dying after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, but neither report cited by the author provided evidence to showcase a direct link between the vaccine and the deaths in question — a fact the author did not highlight. In fact, one of the anecdotal reports linked to in the article quoted a doctor declaring they “don’t have any data to suggest the (COVID-19) vaccine has any affect in either direction” regarding a death.

A look at LifesiteNews’ homepage finds several references to “Big Tech” and “Cancel Culture,” which became common talking points among far right political circles shortly after Twitter and Facebook kicked ex-president Donald Trump off their platforms for spreading the Big Lie about widespread election fraud and for using his social media accounts to instigate the Jan. 6 insurrectionist attack on the U.S. Capitol. 

Even before that nadir of far right violence, conservative thought leaders and outlets had been grumbling about Twitter, Facebook and YouTube taking more aggressive actions to clamp down on misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and conspiracy theories about nonexistent election fraud. Last year, several conservative personalities hyped up Parler, a sort of right wing alternative to Twitter with weaker moderation policies. Parler was booted from servers and app stores after the Jan. 6 attack until it strengthened its moderation practices to not allow hate-filled content that can foment violence.

In February, YouTube banned LifesiteNews for repeatedly violating its policies against spreading COVID-19 misinformation. A YouTube spokesperson at the time told the conservative outlet Breitbart:

“In accordance with our long standing strikes system, we terminated the channel LifeSite News Media for repeatedly violating our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that promotes prevention methods that contradict local health authorities or [World Health Organization].”

“Any channel that violates our COVID-19 misinformation policy will receive a strike, which temporarily restricts uploading or live-streaming. Channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period will be permanently removed from YouTube.”

LifesiteNews’ home page has several links to articles critical of the pharmaceutical industry, lockdown orders, vaccine mandates, as well as articles that link the COVID-19 vaccines directly to deaths and various health problems while also questioning their efficacy.

As Religion News Service reports:

“Multiple health agencies across the globe have deemed several COVID-19 vaccines — including the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that was the focus of the blog in question — highly effective and safe for use. Of the three approved for use in the United States, only a one-dose vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson has received additional scrutiny from federal health officials since it was first granted emergency use authorization. Officials paused its use for a short span last month, but opted to reauthorize it alongside a warning about blood clots that had impacted six individuals out of more than 6.8 million people who had received the vaccine.”

LifesiteNews has been a favored outlet for Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the radicalized former nuncio who last year circulated a petition speculating that the pandemic was being exploited by shadowy “business interests” to abolish religion and institute a one-world government. In addition, Lifesite featured a speech given last year by conservative Cardinal Raymond Burke, who speculated about governments mandating vaccines and microchips placed under the skin in order to track people.

Those articles, by the way, are easily searchable in LifesiteNews’ archives since the outlet’s search engine is “enhanced” by Google, itself a popular “Big Tech” target of criticism in the outlet’s opinion essays and commentary.

 

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