Who Are All those Anti-Vaxxers, Anyway?
Jon Ronson on the Ugly Tyranny of the Normal

If You Don't Think the Conversation on Vaccines Is Being Controlled, Think Again:





Anne Mason, the author of this article writes:

Medium just removed my "Measles Scare Tactics Hurt Us All" article from their platform. If you think free speech exists in this country, think again. If you need a valid link to the article, please use this one at GreenMedInfo. They added valuable hyperlinks to the body of the article, so it's a better version to use anyway:

Without specifics, they determined I was in violation of their rules and explained that they "do not allow posts or accounts that engage in on-platform, off-platform, or cross-platform campaigns of targeting, harassment, hate speech, violence, or disinformation." So, my guess is "disinformation." My article was fully referenced. Every study and link I mentioned is backed up. Alarming, to say the least.


This is not the first time a social media platform has silenced someone who was critical of vaccines. Last December, Sayer Ji, founder of GreenMedInfo, wrote:

On Dec. 13th, 2018 Pinterest removed GreenMedInfo.com, one of the world’s most trafficked and widely referenced natural health research sites, from its platform, stating: “your linked website violated our misinformation policy. This policy includes things like promotion of false cures for terminal or chronic illnesses, and anti-vaccination advice.”

This action occurred after a number of other sites which either question the safety of vaccines, or are critical of the vaccine industry, reported similar de-platforming.

...Other platforms who have reported on Pinterest’s censorship include The National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC), Mercola.com, NaturalNews.com, and Health Impact News. You can learn more by reading, Eroding Freedoms: Pinterest Removes NVIC’s Boards, and Pinterest Censoring Anti-Vaccine Doctors and Pins Related to Vaccine Rights.


You can see the entire email Pinterest sent to GreenMedInfo.com, here.

Whatever a person's views on vaccines may be, anyone who values a culture of free and open debate on important issues should be very concerned by the current trend of social-media companies to establish themselves as arbiters of the truth, rather than as platforms for open discussion.

As both of these examples demonstrate, the vaccine debate is far from "settled." Both Mason's pulled article and GreenMedInfo.com reference peer-reviewed literature on vaccine safety, and both carefully cite their sources. This is in bold contrast to the vast majority of mainstream coverage of the topic, which typically repeats without support the assertions that "vaccines are safe and effective", and "vaccines do not cause autism," while regurgitating tired untruths about Dr. Andrew Wakefield and the 1998 Lancet paper.

There are, sadly, a great many people who don't care all that much about free and open debate, and who are quite happy to have their truths handed to them by gatekeepers. But I don't personally believe that there are as many of them as the social media giants are counting on. And unless they are able to get government to regulate their own industry (a move that would only benefit the existing power players, at the expense and possibly to the exclusion of newcomers), they will soon start to face some real competition from platforms promising spaces for genuine free speech. 


CORRECTION: The above has been corrected to read that only Mason's article was removed from the Medium platform. Her account has not been suspended, as was earlier stated.