Attorneys General in Missouri and Louisiana have compiled several pieces of evidence that they say shows Dr. Anthony Fauci worked directly with Big Tech companies to steer public discussion about COVID-19 and shut down talk about its origin, work that includes direct conversations with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
On Friday, a federal judge ruled that Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt will get a chance to depose Fauci and other Biden administration officials on these collaborations as their case proceeds. One key fact they want to prove is that Fauci worked with Facebook and others to tamp down talk that the virus originated in a lab in Wuhan, China.
“Defendant Dr. Anthony Fauci, a senior federal government official, coordinating with others, orchestrated a campaign to discredit the lab-leak hypothesis in early 2020,” Landry and Schmitt state in their brief. “As director of NIAID, Dr. Fauci had funded risky ‘gain-of-function’ research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology through intermediaries such as EcoHealth Alliance, headed by Dr. Peter Daszak.”
“Thus, if the lab-leak theory were established, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Daszak could be potentially implicated in funding the research on viruses that caused the COVID19 pandemic and killed millions of people worldwide,” they said.
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The case laid out by the two AGs explains several instances in which Fauci had the chance to work with Facebook to control the message.
For example, they charge that Fauci’s attempts to kill the “lab-leak” theory started in late January 2020, when he allegedly received information from colleagues suggesting the COVID-19 virus may have originated in a Wuhan lab.
“Soon thereafter, Dr. Fauci participated in a conference call with scientists and science-funding authorities intended to discredit and suppress this lab-leak theory,” the Landry and Schmitt state in their brief. “After the conference call, influential individuals signed public statements that were placed in science journals in attempt to discredit the lab-leak theory.”
At about this same time frame, Fauci allegedly “communicated with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg directly regarding public messaging and the flow of information on social media about the government’s COVID-19 response.”
According to court documents, Zuckerberg invited Fauci to coordinate on COVID-19 messaging to “make sure people can get authoritative information from reliable sources,” and suggested including a video message from Fauci because “people trust and want to hear from experts.”
Zuckerberg proposed including this content in a “hub” that “we’re going to put at the top of Facebook” to reach “200+ million Americans, 2.5 billion people worldwide,” which Fauci said was a “very exciting” prospect, according to an email cited in the attorney generals’ court documents.
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Around the same time frame as the Zuckerberg-Fauci emails, Facebook and other social-media companies censored and suppressed speakers and speech advocating for the lab-leak theory of COVID-19’s origins, despite the overwhelming circumstantial evidence favoring that theory, the AGs claim.
“This censorship directly implemented the plan, orchestrated by Fauci and others in early 2020, to discredit and suppress the lab-leak theory,” they state in their brief.
In this same timeframe, Facebook and other social-media companies “began an ever-increasing campaign of monitoring, censorship, and suppression of speech and speakers about COVID-19 and issues related to COVID-19,” according to the court documents. They said this suppression would “dramatically escalate” when the Biden administration took over.
The case also alleges that Fauci had a direct hand in how Facebook censored information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
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According to the court filings, Facebook’s “COVID and Vaccine Policy” states that Facebook “does not allow false claims about the vaccines or vaccination programs which public health experts have advised us could lead to COVID-19 vaccine rejection.”
“Fauci and CDC officials are included among those ‘public health experts’ who ‘advise’ Facebook on what to censor,” the AGs said in their brief.
The complaint said Fauci also helped Facebook navigate how to censor speech about COVID-19 in general, including which speakers to ban.
According to the complaint, Facebook labels COVID-19 information as “false,” not based on actual truth or falsity, but based on whether the claim contradicts or challenges the pronouncements of Fauci and the CDC.
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The AGs said collusion between Health and Human Services (HHS) officials and Big Tech platforms on the censorship of disfavored speakers and speech “accelerated once the Biden Administration took office.”
They note in their complaint that “just days” after Fauci called prominent lockdown and vaccine critic Alex Berenson “a ‘danger’ for suggesting young people might reasonably decline” the COVID-19 vaccine, Twitter “caved to federal pressure and permanently suspended Berenson.”
Fauci and other officials are expected to testify in the coming months.