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The Virality of Truth
The Facebook edition
The Missouri v. Biden case is truly the case that keeps on giving. They have successfully extracted an incredible amount of discovery on the government’s involvement in speech on social media, they have even successfully gotten to depose many top government officials, including Fauci himself.
Recently, the Attorney General of Missouri has released a few more emails from the White House to Facebook employees specifically regarding how to deal with ‘skeptical’ content that goes viral on Facebook, and it hits really close to home.
Why? Because they were directly referring to the problem I posed. They were acknowledging that my kind of measured data analysis and ‘skepticism’ was driving “the most actual hesitancy.” They were referring to me, personally (obviously among others too).
Find the March 21st and 22nd emails below, underlining mine (source):
Now, in my Understanding Ohio COVID-19 Data group page I never broke the rules. I didn’t share memes, I was not sensational, I examined only official data or press releases/conferences from the state of Ohio. I created an absolutely massive amount of original content. I always cited my sources with links, explained all of my reasoning in painstaking detail, created guides to teach others how to access the data themselves and encouraged them to ask questions or to confirm or refute me. To think for themselves. I fed ‘skepticism’ with their own facts.
Oh The Horror.
In the process, my group which focused solely on COVID data in Ohio, swelled to over 10,000 members. There were dozens of state lawmakers, many public officials, hundreds of health care workers, and thousands of other highly educated professionals among the members. All rationally and respectfully discussing the data and how to use that understanding to approach school and other public officials on the plethora of mandates Ohioans were under. I was even interviewed by Tom Woods, in part about the effectiveness of my Facebook group, after some of my Ohio statehouse testimony went viral.
Then, on April 30th, 2021, right on schedule as per the emails, I had my first (rather innocuous) daily data post pulled for ‘misinformation that could contribute to physical harm’:
For those who never followed my Facebook groups, one thing I would do every day is take the data released from the state of Ohio regarding COVID and repost it in a less sensational way. I would look at how many of our daily cases were ‘probable’, how old our ‘new’ cases and hospitalizations were (often significant ‘new’ numbers were months, or even a year old, but they added to the fear of the day) and posted running graphs that would put the day’s numbers in perspective, among other observations. All of my various charts and graphs were, of course, only based on Ohio’s official COVID data, and the rationale behind each visualization described in extensive detail many, many times and in many ways. I posted ‘true content’ without sensationalism. But it contradicted the narrative. And much worse than that, my posts often went viral.
Below, find the reactions, comments and shares for my posts just during the week the White House and Facebook were discussing how to deal with ‘skepticism’ like mine (and yes, I was that prolific):
Less than three months later, my group was completely shut down by Facebook, all that analysis and discussion rendered inaccessible to everyone except me, despite never actually breaking any rules.
Again, keep in mind, I only focused on Ohio, I did not seek a wider audience. But tens of thousands of people would see my posts every day despite the down-ranking I was already experiencing at the time.
Clearly, I was having an impact, but how can I feel comfortable claiming I was personally being targeted by the White House? Because of the reference in the March 22nd email referencing “the studies I’ve seen in the press”. These ‘studies’ were also referenced in Alex Berenson’s suit against Twitter. Specifically, it was the MIT Viral Visualizations paper first released at the end of February 2021. This paper examined visualizations and networking on Twitter (this is where Alex Berenson was identified as the center point of ‘misinformation’). But the other half of the paper focused on Facebook groups.
In their paper, they claimed to have ‘deep lurked’ in 5 large ‘anti-mask’ Facebook groups from March 2020-September 2020. I can say with authority that much of what they cited came from the ‘Follow the Data with Dr. Frank’ group. I know, because I was there, I remember the quotes and the discussions. I myself was quoted three times in the print paper. They even describe, specifically, the beginnings of my own data analysis story.
But despite what the paper says, they did not stop stalking us in September of 2020. I know for certain that they continued to follow me, personally, well after that.
I know this because during the study period, I had yet to create my own group page. Dr. Frank would periodically promote my analyses and visualizations made with the expert help of another member, but my own group would not be formed until around Halloween. Imagine my surprise when I found that they had lifted an entire post of mine and posted it on their interactive page:
They followed me, and the White House eventually targeted me and those like me, because I was the most dangerous thing out there. Not sensational, measured, factual, respectful, and, worst of all,
I used those facts to empower others.
And an empowered, educated citizenry is exactly what authoritarian governments cannot abide.
It gives me hope every time they release more information from this case. We all knew it was happening at the time, but to have it so explicitly laid out and with a judge that is clearly disgusted with the behavior of the government, maybe, just maybe, one day, the suppression and censorship will be forced to end.