Online censorship is being questioned by parents in Missouri. Throughout the pandemic, popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter offered a place for people to socialize despite lockdowns. The platforms allowed support groups to continue to meet virtually.
Smaller, lesser-known platforms like nextdoor.com also host plenty of community conversations.
But for Missouri native Josh McCollum, nextdoor silenced his ideas by deleting personal posts. He said this confused him because it happened right after he joined.
He spoke with The Epoch Times about it, “I only got onto nextdoor to share a few things regarding our local school system which I was concerned about.”
When McCollum tried to share the petition on nextdoor, the post was flagged with a notice that said that anything posted about COVID-19 should have a source link to the CDC, WHO, or local agencies.
Users were allowed to share the source material without editing it if they choose the publish option, but the notice shows that nextdoor is making it more difficult for people to openly discuss mask mandates.
Nextdoor’s support did not respond to a request for comment, but their website lists six community guideline rules relating to respect, discrimination, and harmful activity.
Twitter UltimatumsDash Crowlee also opposes mandatory mask mandates and lives within the same school district. He fears that masking children for long periods of time will have negative social consequences and is vocal about it on Twitter, but he experienced a different form of censorship.
During the election he had numerous tweets deleted and his account suspended, but it was when he posted about masks that his account was nearly banned altogether. This past spring he grew so upset at the changing mask requirements that he decided to reach out to Dr. Anthony Fauci. Unable to find direct contact information, Crowlee took to Twitter and responded to Fauci’s tweets.
Within hours he received a warning that his account would be banned if he did not delete the tweets opposing Dr. Fauci’s methods. He said, “It’s like they want you to admit defeat. They could just delete the tweet automatically, but they cuckold you and make you do it.”
Twitter did not comment on this issue, but like nextdoor, they have a long list of rules involving safety, privacy, and authenticity which start out with this statement:
Censorship and Government InterventionDebates over the efficacy of masks are still ongoing and new studies are challenging the validity of CDC guidelines. Parents and students have publicly spoken before teachers and administrations to voice their concerns over mask mandates.
During his July 7 news conference, former President Donald Trump accused the federal government of using Facebook, Twitter, and Google as its “de facto censorship arm” during the COVID-19 pandemic. One claim that was censored, he said, was the assertion that COVID-19 emerged from a Wuhan virology lab in 2019. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden said many members of the U.S. intelligence community now view the theory as viable.
What the courts will decide remains uncertain, but when censorship is used to silence parents who express concerns over decisions that affect their children’s health, the efforts from social media companies to restrict discussion on important topics take America into unprecedented territory.