The FDA released a video on May 16 warning the public of the dangers of misinformation. At one point in the video, the FDA says, “Misinformation can spread 6x faster than facts,” without any data or facts to back the statement up. The FDA ostensibly shared the video because they continue to worry about the impact of “dangerous” misinformation on public health.
The video and the PDF viewer on the FDA rumor control page direct Americans to “trusted sources” like “independent fact checkers” or government websites. However, given what we saw during the pandemic concerning effective treatments for COVID-19 that were not approved by the government narrative, it is hard to trust advice from a governmental website fully. The FDA continues to toe the line, evoking terms used during the pandemic to enlist the public’s help to “stop the spread” of harmful online misinformation. The language used here is purposely manipulative, eliciting memories and behavior when the public was much more controlled by such language.
The rumor control page is yet another example of the way the U.S. government continues to lead Americans by the nose back to what it deems to be “trusted information.” The page also shows messaging from the government that seems to cover all the bases, just in case “the science” doesn’t work out. Its “recommendations evolve” with the science, and “the science” is determined by the ones in power.
Think back to the CDC’s and Fauci’s waffling about masking, or better yet, think about how thousands of years of science about viruses were conveniently thrown out the window during the pandemic to suit their purposes. “Trust the science” was really more about “trusting the government’s” version of it at the time.
One governmentally opposed narrative seen during the pandemic surrounded the use of Ivermectin as an effective treatment for COVID-19. The manic pushback on using the well-tested and safe medication was perplexing, to say the least. It is one of the “safest drugs in the world and is on the World Health Organization’s list of safe drugs.”
It seems the government and the media orchestrated a full-frontal assault on Ivermectin to frighten and discourage the use of the drug. As a result, Ivermectin was almost impossible to obtain from pharmacies for many months during the pandemic. Prescriptions went unfilled, and many did not receive what may have been a life-saving treatment. In some cases, individuals desperate to recover from COVID-19 used horse paste obtained from the local Tractor Supply containing Ivermectin, sending the government into a frenzy of misinformation on the drug’s safety.
Many doctors who did not relent to the fear-mongering used Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine with great success to treat patients with COVID-19. However, getting the correct information to the public was enormously difficult because of the government’s disinformation campaign, and fear of the drug persisted well into the pandemic. It is thought that many died because of disinformation from the U.S. government and its public servants.
If you can't understand Hydroxychloroquine was banned due to a fraudulent paper by Surgisphere placed in the Lancet, only withdrawn after the damage was done & that was used as a springboard to smear Ivermectin as “Horse Paste!”
Two safe drugs banned https://t.co/UUdqM67pR8 https://t.co/GgpK02gdfF
— Barry Sharp (@BarryESharp) May 23, 2023
A post from Rep. Thomas Massie seems to demonstrate just how far the government is willing to go to prevent the public from obtaining certain drugs without a prescription—drugs that have been used for decades by farmers for animals. On June 11, the FDA will make a list of medications no longer available over-the-counter at feed stores for animal use. Given what happened during the pandemic, the worry is that the FDA and the government will gradually tighten their grip on safe and efficacious over-the-counter medicines for humans as well.
I’m concerned this FDA power grab isn’t about the animals. It’s about making sure _you_ can’t obtain drugs and remedies that can also be used to treat people, if the government doesn’t want you to have them. https://t.co/mnd9vZCshp
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 23, 2023
The Virality Project Was Integral to the MDM Mission
As UncoverDC has reported before, there seem to have been many partners who coordinated with the government to ensure Americans saw the “correct information.” The Virality Project was orchestrated by many of the same figures who have been central to the “mis-, dis-, and malinformation”(MDM) agenda—familiar characters like Renee DiResta, the cognitive infrastructure guru and Kate Starbird, who runs an MDM lab at Washinton University in St. Louis. Both were key advisors on the Virality Project and played advisory roles in governmental programs focusing on critical infrastructure.
The final Virality Project report was published in April 2022. The 232-page report, entitled “Memes, Magnets, and Microchips,” is a seminal document that lays bare the direction of controlled information, as prescribed by the Biden administration. The basis for the report’s investigations centers on preventing viral online misinformation that allegedly misleads the public. It is truly a roadmap for how the Biden administration has sought to correct and censor undesirable narratives.
The project was led by Renee DiResta, the Technical Research Manager of Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) at Stanford University. SIO partnered with NCoC Algorithmic Transparency Institute, NYU Tandon School of Engineering (the Cybersecurity for Democracy Lab), NYU Center for Social Media and Politics, UW Center for an Informed Public (Kate Starbird’s brainchild), the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and Graphika. The above organizations have been integral to studying MDM and its impact on public perception.
While the Virality Project specifically addressed pandemic-related topics, their work moved beyond the confines of the virus to other areas of MDM, including attempts to address public mistrust of agencies like the FDA. Undoubtedly, many of the ideas outlined in the FDA video found their home in the Virality Project and its partners. The Virality Project helped develop the “ticketing” system to help organize and analyze data collected on social media platforms to help suss out MDM.
The Virality Project used the Jira Service Desk software “to log mis- and disinformation incidents determined to be in scope for specific areas of the public COVID-19-related conversation.” The Virality Project partners were integral to controlling the narrative during the pandemic of 2020, and its associated concepts and methodologies continue today.