A clip from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s interview on the Lex Fridman podcast last week went viral on Twitter. In the clip, Zuckerberg reflected on what Big Tech got wrong with its Covid censorship. Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy weighed in, highlighting that Zuckerberg still has a ways to go if he wants to fully acknowledge his own nefarious role.
Zuckerberg certainly took a step in the right direction by correctly using the term “censored.” He did not attempt to smugly posture about safety, as tech executives often do, or speciously explain the difference between censorship and content moderation. He deserves credit for calling a spade a spade. (RELATED: ‘Undermines Trust’: Mark Zuckerberg Reflects On Facebook Censoring COVID-19 ‘Misinformation’)
Zuckerberg expounded on the issue at length. “Just take some of the stuff around COVID earlier on in the pandemic where there were, you know, real health implications, but there hadn’t been time to fully vet a bunch of the scientific assumptions,” he said.
“Unfortunately,” he continued, “I think a lot of the kind of establishment on that kind of waffled on a bunch of facts and asked for a bunch of things to be censored that, in retrospect, ended up being more debatable or true. And that stuff is really tough, right? It really undermines trust.”
RFK responded to the clip with praise.
The awakening continues. It’s dawning on establishment figures like Mark Zuckerberg that they were complicit in a web of deception during Covid.https://t.co/3ovvxMGFkS
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) June 12, 2023
In RFK’s response is a hidden critique. The “awakening” is an ongoing process — it is far from finished. It is only just “dawning” on oligarchs like Zuckerberg the grave harm they have done to the erosion of free speech in America. For them to repair the damage requires them fully acknowledging just how complicit they were throughout the pandemic.
A deeper analysis of Zuckerberg’s framing in the quote above reveals that he’s not quite ready to do that yet. The tech mogul is still willing to grant public health officials — proven liars like Dr. Anthony Fauci — the benefit of the doubt. (RELATED: Mark Zuckerberg Is Working On A New App To Take On Musk’s Twitter)
It is not just that public health officials didn’t have time to “fully vet” information. Neither was the problem that they “waffled” on the facts. The real problem was that they just didn’t care. No amount of time or new data would have changed their position. The diktats were presupposed, and the “facts” were manipulated to support the conclusions.
Take for example, the now farcically absurd mask mandates that tyrannized the country for far too long. In released private emails, Fauci admitted that masks were “not really effective” in protecting against viruses like Covid and advised against wearing one. While he told the public this as well at first, he quickly reversed and continued to maintain his position.
The Centers for Disease Control produced studies so flawed that even an undergraduate could have pointed out the issues. It either refused to conduct randomized controlled trials (the “gold standard” for effective research), or produced studies “prone to multiple biases” that provided “insufficient evidence” to support their preferred mask policy. Credentialed government scientists must have known the issues with their research — either they’re stupid, or they had an agenda.
However, it matters little to rehash this now. What matters more is that we don’t let it happen again.
Yet Zuckerberg again does not seem all that concerned. He admits that his faulty coordination with officials “undermines trust” in both institutions. True, despite being the understatement of the year.
Nevertheless, Zuckerberg also seems prepared to do it all again. After all, in his mind, the public health officials did not act with malicious intent.
Intent is the crux of the matter. He would presumably be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt as they struggle to find the correct response to the next pandemic. If some overzealous censorship results in lost trust, well, at least they are saving lives. (RELATED: Mark Zuckerberg Gave Fauci His Personal Phone Number Before Facebook Launched COVID Censorship Campaign)
The truth is that all parties involved knew exactly what they were doing and they did much more than undermine trust. Public health officials were not a crew of bumbling fools — they destroyed countless lives with meaningless mandates and closures, they pressured policies that did the most harm to the First Amendment in the history of our country. The edicts never would have carried the same weight without social media companies enforcing the appearance of a scientific consensus — banning any dissent as beyond the bounds of legitimate discourse.
The “awakening” must continue, until Zuckerberg and all his compatriots acknowledge they were active participants in a willful “web of deception.” Otherwise, it’s all just empty posturing and they will remain complicit. More importantly, if they don’t admit this — it suggests they’ll do it again.