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Big Tech Censorship Website Full Fact Lobbies MPs to Include “Health Misinformation” in Online Safety Bill


Full Fact – a ‘fact-checking’ website funded by Google, Facebook and George Soros – has been lobbying MPs to include “health misinformation” in the Online Safety Bill. This would force websites to remove “legal but harmful” “misinformation” relating to health, including off-narrative information about COVID-19, lockdowns, masks and vaccines, or face crippling fines.

Last week Full Fact – which received 70% of its 2019 declared funding from Big Tech companies – sent an email to its subscribers urging them to write to their MP and ask him or her vote to address the “gap” left by the Government’s rejection of the Labour and SNP amendment that would have added “health misinformation” to the bill. Full Fact’s Policy and Parliamentary Relations Manager Alison Trew wrote:

Two years on from the outbreak of a global pandemic, it should be obvious that false or misleading claims about our health should be included in the types of online content addressed by the Bill.

A few weeks ago Full Fact’s Chief Executive, Will Moy, warned MPs that as it stands, the Online Safety Bill fails to meet the Government’s aim to make the U.K. the safest place in the world to be online.

Our fact checkers have seen first hand how COVID-19 misinformation has undermined public health, conspiracy theories have led to offline attacks, and disinformation – including on the war in Ukraine – has spread unchecked.

Digital minister Chris Philp told MPs this week that the Government agreed with the intention behind the amendment to tackle harmful health misinformation. And yet, disappointingly, the Government voted against the proposed changes.

This leaves a huge, and dangerous, gap in the Online Safety Bill. But there is still time for Parliament to close it.

Here’s the email in full.

Full Fact, which self-importantly describes itself as “the U.K.’s independent fact checking charity”, is well known to be a politically biased organisation with a history of partisan interventions in political debates. Government Minister Dominic Raab once said of it: “Who said Final [sic] Fact is the final arbiter of what the public get to see as the truth? There’s no God-given right, set in law. It doesn’t sound to me like they like the competition.”

However, various organisations including Google and Facebook use Full Fact to inform them as to what is “misinformation” that must be censored on their platforms. Worse, Raab’s Government is currently causing it to be “set in law” that websites must act on the “misinformation” that sites like Full Fact bring to their attention. The U.K.’s broadcasting regulator Ofcom said last year that its “list of claims that could be considered false or misleading is provided to us by Full Fact”.

Full Fact claims to be an “independent and impartial charity with a cross-party board”. But an investigation by David Scullion for the Critic found this was not true.

The organisation claims to have a board of trustees with “members from the three main UK-wide political parties”. There is a Labour Peer (Baroness Janet Royall), a Lib-Dem peer, (Lord John Sharkey) but their former Conservative Party member, Lord Richard Inglewood, no longer sits as a Tory. When I asked Full Fact who their Conservative member was they pointed out that one of their trustees donates to the Conservative Party and that they have “representatives of different political parties” on their board. This is different wording which allows for the fact that they don’t, or aren’t sure whether they have a Conservative Party member amongst them. I pointed out that a donor was different to a member, but I did not receive a reply and the text on their website was not corrected.

Scullion notes that the departing editor was an ex-Mirror and Buzzfeed reporter, and concludes: “Full Fact is a charity with a small output of research compared to its size, funded primarily by big-tech and staffed to a large extent by former public sector workers or ex-reporters from left-wing media.”

Full Fact misleadingly claims no one has to listen to it: “We don’t ask people to take our word for any conclusion we make. We provide links to all sources so that readers can check what we’ve said for themselves.”

But when major internet sites and broadcasting regulators are leaning on it to tell them what to censor, and when it has a “Head of Advocacy” and a “Policy and Parliamentary Relations Manager” who lobby Government to change the law, it clearly isn’t the case that no one has to take its word for it. Where it speaks, censorship can quickly follow.

Full Fact often gets things wrong. In February 2020 it joined in the now discredited effort to pour cold water on the lab leak theory, stating “There’s no evidence that the 2019 coronavirus originated in a Chinese Government laboratory”, despite many scientists at the time suspecting, based on the evidence, that was the case. Last year the site claimed the Daily Sceptic was being misleading in reporting Government data showing infection rates higher in the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. It wrote:

This data had already caused widespread confusion, because it seemed to show for the month in question (August 9th to September 5th) that people in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s were more likely to test positive for Covid if they had been vaccinated than if they hadn’t. In particular, a chart displaying the data seemed to give this impression.

Despite pointing out to the site that the Government data and chart didn’t “seem” to show this but plainly did show this, and this was not a result of “confusion” or an “impression” on anyone’s part and the misinformation was entirely Full Fact’s in attempting to cast doubt on this, no correction was forthcoming.

Websites and other media checking one another’s facts is of course a worthwhile activity. That’s one reason free speech is so important, as it allows people to correct one another by drawing attention to new or overlooked evidence. But using biased fact-checking sites as a basis of censorship, as many websites and Government regulators are now in a habit of doing, is a fast-track to an authoritarian society where only officially approved speech and Government-endorsed ‘facts’ are allowed. It’s no surprise that Full Fact wants the Online Safety Bill strengthened to force websites to conform with the pronouncements of sites like itself. But that’s no reason for a Government which claims to care about freedom of speech to go along with it.

June 20, 2022 - Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. “Full Fact – a ‘fact-checking’ website funded by Google, Facebook and George Soros”…….Anything funded by Google, Facebook, and “old scrotum face” Soros, should be treated with contempt.

    Nobody Owns/Knows the Truth. “The Truth” is a matter of opinion, and fact checking sites should be regarded as what they really are, Fact manipulation sites. There’s enough stupid people out there that can be easily manipulated by “Fact Checkers”

    “There are no Facts, Just opinions”…. Nietzsche


    Comment by brianharryaustralia | June 20, 2022 | Reply

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