Twitter Files: Stanford 'Virality Project' Saw Fed-Subsidized University Effort To Censor Real COVID Info

P. Gardner Goldsmith | March 19, 2023
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A new week sees a massive new revelation about government-tied, left-leaning, drives to censor scores of Twitter users. As it did last week -- when we learned that government bureaucrats paid Microsoft-tied NewsGuard to suppress the reach of conservative news and organizations including MRCTV – this explosive info comes to us thanks to the hard work of independent journalist Matt Taibbi.

And, be forewarned, there is a lot of information, because the scope of the censorship attempts is so jaw-droppingly vast.

The best starting place is Taibbi’s introductory March 17 tweet on the new revelations. Entitled: “TWITTER FILES #19 The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine,” he subtitles it, “Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of ‘True Stories,’” and the tweet begins a massive thread exposing some of the most overtly Orwellian, Stalin-esque attempts to silence people that the Twitter Files have revealed.

Tweets Two and Three in the thread offer examples of messages from Stanford University’s “Virality Project” (VP) the “truth” squad exposed in this new tranche.

Instantly, readers can see in its June 2021 “Weekly Briefing” the university project's framing of criticism inspired by the exposure of Anthony Fauci’s hypocrisy-revealing 2020 emails.

“The release of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s Spring 2020 emails… has been used to exacerbate distrust in Dr. Fauci.”

The assumptions being that distrust of Fauci is unjustified and that it is incorrect to point out his inconsistencies, prevarications, double-standards, and deceptions. VP gives the impression that Fauci must be trusted, at all times.

Taibbi notes in Tweet Three that discussions about acquiring “natural immunity,” about “lab leaks”, and social media posts about “Reports of vaccinated individuals contracting Covid-19 anyway” also were targeted by Stanford’s Virality Project.

And because he was faced with so much from the Virality Project, Taibbi dug into the VP, discovering that its staff’s attempts to squelch opinions and information they didn’t like extended beyond Twitter:

“All (of the posts he displayed in his Twitter thread) were characterized as ‘potential violations’ or disinformation ‘events’ by the Virality Project, a sweeping, cross-platform effort to monitor billons of social media posts by Stanford University, federal agencies, and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs.”

To phrase it differently, he’s talking about an effort by Stanford, federal agencies, and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs to monitor billions of social media posts by the taxpayers forced to hand them the fruits of their labor.

How sweet of Stanford, the NGOs, and the government.

It’s also revealing to see that the censors actually KNEW much of what they were targeting was true.

Observes Taibbi:

“5.Just before @ShellenbergerMD (Michael Shellenberger) and I testified in the House last week, Virality Project emails were found in the #TwitterFiles describing ‘stories of true vaccine side effects’ as actionable content.”

You read that right.

Related: Microsoft-Tied NewsGuard Was Paid By Feds While It Censored Conservative Media, Including MRCTV | MRCTV

And the larger canvass of censorship and turpitude presented by Taibbi in his investigation of Stanford’s Virality Project soon comes to the fore. He writes:

“We’ve since learned the Virality Project in 2021 worked with government to launch a pan-industry monitoring plan for Covid-related content. At least six major Internet platforms were ‘onboarded’ to the same JIRA ticketing system (flagging “problem” posts to be addressed), daily sending millions of items for review.”

It might take some time for the scope of this to settle in one’s mind, especially since this effort was tied to federal tax cash, Stanford University, and, as Taibbi discovered, many so-called “non-governmental organizations” that also receive our tax money.

Taibbi traces the links back to the start of the Virality Project’s communications with Twitter:

“10.THE BEGINNING: On February 5, 2021, just after Joe Biden took office, Stanford wrote to Twitter to discuss the Virality Project. By the 17th, Twitter agreed to join and got its first weekly report on “anti-vax disinformation,” which contained numerous true stories.”

And he notes the fact that many more censorious forces hopped aboard the VP “ticketing” of speech train:

“8.This story is important for two reasons. One, as Orwellian proof-of-concept, the Virality Project was a smash success. Government, academia, and an oligopoly of would-be corporate competitors organized quickly behind a secret, unified effort to control political messaging.”

He adds:

“9.Two, it accelerated the evolution of digital censorship, moving it from judging truth/untruth to a new, scarier model, openly focused on political narrative at the expense of fact.”

At a certain point in their relationship, VP cited true posts by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr concerning negative reactions to the mRNA jabs, exposing the “Virality Project’s” antipathy for actual facts.

Reports Taibbi:

“14.VP told Twitter that ‘true stories that could fuel hesitancy,’ including things like ‘celebrity deaths after vaccine’ or the closure of a central NY school due to reports of post-vaccine illness, should be considered ‘Standard Vaccine Misinformation on Your Platform.’"

Not any acknowledgment that the first generation of the virus had a survivability rate of 99 percent-plus for people aged 69 and younger and 94.6 percent for those over 69, and that the subsequent “variants” were even less lethal.

Not any discussion of whether the jabs were properly tested for safety or efficacy. Any variation from the acceptable narrative was verboten.

And if you were critical of jab “passports” and correctly noted that in many locales they were part of a large government-tech system to DEMAND that businesses get your proof of “jab”? If you likened that to a Nazi-Germany style of governance, YOU were the malcontent.

Writes Taibbi:

“15. In one email to Twitter, VP addressed what it called the ‘vaccine passport narrative,’ saying ‘concerns’ over such programs ‘have driven a larger anti-vaccination narrative about the loss of rights and freedoms.’ This was framed as a ‘misinformation’ event.”

And there is much more.

Taibbi’s coverage is necessarily vast, because the Virality Project and its attempt to silence nonconformist communication has been vast.

And if one is curious, just to add color to this explosive array of demonstrably censorious attacks on free speech, let’s note that the Virality Project is based at Stanford, which, a few years back, stood out as one of the most tax-subsidized “research” universities in the US.

More than ten years ago, the left-leaning Huffington Post reported:

“Of all 896 schools that received federal money for R&D, approximately 20% of those funds went to just 10 universities, according to a study by the National Science Foundation.”

And that NSF analysis? It saw Stanford place “Number Six,” with $656 million federal tax dollars.

Few things say “insult” better than people getting your tax money and then targeting you for a gag. And, by the way, the Virality Project started ONE DAY prior to Homeland "Security" Czar Alejandro Mayorkas announcing the existence of the so-called "Disinformation Governance Board" under the control of singing censor Nina Jankowicz. 

Contrary to some reports, that Ministry of Truth still exists, under former Homeland Security meister Michael Chertoff. And the indirectly tax-subsidized Virality Project still is extant.

But, thankfully, people like Matt Taibbi and others are sifting through these Twitter revelations, and they are on independent platforms, where, as long as the feds don’t loose the dogs of the FCC on them, they can get out the truth.

They can tell us what these authoritarians have been doing, and they can show us what it's like to interact with people in a free market of information and journalistic work.

Related: Twitter Doc Dump Reveals Stunning Leftist Tilt - Now Additional Lefty 'Journalist' Spin | MRCTV