Essay by Eric Worrall
UN bureaucrats and mostly left wing politicians are pushing to rebuild a societal sense of “shared reality”, by shutting down climate skeptics and other online voices they deem to be “misinformation”.
Internet for Trust Conference discusses guidelines for online platforms
23 February 2023 Culture and Education
The first-ever conference to discuss draft global guidelines for regulating digital platforms ended on Thursday in Paris with a call to uphold the right to seek and receive information in the face of rising disinformation online.
More than 4,300 people participated in the Internet for Trust Conference, organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which will launch the guidelines in September.
The three-day event marked the latest phase in the global dialogue to develop regulatory solutions for social media to improve the reliability of information and promote human rights online.
“The blurring of boundaries between true and false, the highly-organized denial of scientific facts, the amplification of disinformation and conspiracies – these did not originate on social networks. But, in the absence of regulation, they flourish there much better than the truth,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay warned in her opening speech.
She urged countries to act together so that information remains a global common good, stating that “only by taking the full measure of this technological revolution can we ensure it does not sacrifice human rights, freedom of expression and democracy.”
In his message to the Conference, the Brazilian President, who is known as “Lula”, recalled the violent attacks last month against democratic institutions in his country.
“What happened that day was the culmination of a campaign, initiated much earlier, and that used lies and disinformation as ammunition,” he said.
“To a large extent, this campaign was nurtured, organized, and disseminated through digital platforms and messaging apps. This is the same method used to generate acts of violence elsewhere in the world. It must stop.”
The UNESCO chief closed the conference by urging all countries to join its efforts to transform the internet into a tool which is truly at the service of the public and that helps assure the right to freedom of expression, which includes the right to seek and receive information.
…Read more: https://news.un.org/en/story/2023/02/1133827
President Lula da Silva of Brazil, who was one of the headline speakers, is an ardent advocate of shutting down narratives he thinks are disinformation. In 2018 Da Silva was convicted of corruption and money laundering. Da Silva’s conviction for corruption was overturned in 2021, after the Supreme Court ruled the evidence against him was inadmissible because the prosecutor was biased.
Da Silva blames “disinformation” for the protests which rocked his nation in the wake of the 2022 presidential election, “disinformation” spread by people who accused Da Silva of rigging the election.
The article above does not explicitly mention climate change, though they mentioned “highly organised denial of scientific facts”. The UN has made it pretty clear they consider climate skepticism to be disinformation, so I think we’re pretty safe assuming climate skepticism is part of the set of free speech the UN wants shut down.
Rampant disinformation is delaying climate action
Climate disinformation is shared widely online, seeking to sow division and delay climate action. We need to fight back and flood the feeds with reliable, accurate information, writes UN Under-Secretary-General Melissa
…Read more: https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/rampant-disinformation-delaying-climate-action
The USA and Canada have also run their own attempts to shut down “disinformation”, like Biden’s short lived “Disinformation Governance Board”, and Canada’s Bill C-11, an ongoing legislative attempt to restrict online free speech.
I’m actually encouraged by these frantic efforts by mostly left wing politicians and UN bureaucrats to use coercion to regain control of the narrative, because I see it as evidence they are losing. Across the world people are increasingly doing their own research. Those who crave power over our lives don’t seem to like the conclusions empowered free people are drawing from the evidence.
She forgot to add:
“with the exception of speech not approved by the politburo.”
Had the control of ‘information’ now being demanded by the UN and others aligned with their ambitions, been in play during the early years of the 1900s, Einstein would have been cancelled and branded a peddler of untruth. The 100 ‘top scientists’ who signed their letter denouncing his theories would have remained ignorant of the truth.
And before 1900 with Louis Pasteur and after 1900 by Salk.
“I’m actually encouraged by these frantic efforts by mostly left wing politicians and UN bureaucrats to use coercion to regain control of the narrative, because I see it as evidence they are losing. Across the world people are increasingly doing their own research. Those who crave power over our lives don’t seem to like the conclusions empowered free people are drawing from the evidence”.
I agree with this. If climate alarmists actually had science and evidence on their side, they wouldn’t need to ban dissenting voices.
Great comment Bill and I totally agree with it – anyone trying to silence an opposing view is not coming from a good place – they should be resisted at all cost, at all times
Very true. And now the leftists are attacking scientific studies such as the Cochrane Library review of masking studies and studies showing lack of effectiveness and negative effects of Covid vaccines without an evidence that contradicts these studies. Who are the science deniers now?
I am not so sanguine. It seems like the next target is podcast content analysis by AI. At present many podcasters who have been “demonitized” by YouTube are solving the problem by doing adds for products they consider to be not harmful. However, this will be restricted if the would-be-censors target the companies who advertise with the “undesireables”.
Dilbert agrees with you too.
I quote a friend who is a very smart independent thinker: “… the “substack” blog which promotes conspiracy theories …“. As I often ask nowadays, are you a conspiracy theorist if there really is a conspiracy?
To my mind, the growth of Substack is a product of the ‘authorities’ attempt to control the flow of information. With an open mainstream public dialogue, Substack would not be needed. But with the current blanket suppression of all independent ideas and of all intelligent conversation, a Substack will flourish. Of course it will have wacky ideas in its pages, but it will have everything else as well, and in the end the public will rate everything on its merits. They will, for example, find out that some of the apparently wackiest ideas on Substack are actually no more absurd than the ideas pumped out in the mainstream. For example, mainstream things like: A modern society can run on intermittent energy. A natural gas whose main function is to increase plant growth is an existential danger to humanity. It’s OK to give a man who simply says he is a woman access to captive women so that he can rape them. What we call “pollution” isn’t pollution if we pay someone else to do it. Etc. Etc.
I suspect if plans to curtain internet freedom move forward, there will be pressure to suppress such freedoms.
We can already see it with ChatGPT. Youtube is full of videos of people explaining if you ask ChatGPT how to manufacture something which is illegal, it refuses. But if you ask how other people manufacture something illegal, it provides an explanation.
I’m sure they’re working hard to increase ChatGPT’s semantic comprehension, to stop it from making such obvious mistakes. And in time those who oppose freedom will turn such tools loose on islands of freedom like Substack, to either enforce rules, or sabotage threads they don’t like.
ChatGPT is wholly biased with woke subroutines
To the point that it “speaks” like a spoiled teen who cannot conceive of the possibility that they might be wrong.
And soon countless people will feel vindicated because some programmed machine supports their opinions, refusing to acknowledge they were programmed to do this.
When a very liberal friend tried telling me last summer these AI machines are sentient and that he felt it would be wrong to unplug them because they would feel pain (how did I keep a straight face?) I knew we were in for trouble on many levels.
Highly sophisticated pattern-matching is not even close to sentient.
somebody should insult it- see if it gets angry- if so, showing emotion, it’s the beginning of being sentient, but just a baby step
Not if the plug is pulled very quickly.
I suspect that the real reason that “Leftists” are called that is because they tend to occupy the left-hand side of the Bell Curve.
somebody should ask it “are you woke?”
As with all things, if the over bearing lefty establishment try to take something away, censor something, ban something etc, there is an equally effective drive to continue it via clandestine channels, by and for the silent majority – you can never, ever, totally and forever quash dissent, hence why global left wing & right wing dogmas are always in a state of pendulum
“As I often ask nowadays, are you a conspiracy theorist if there really is a conspiracy?”
Lots of people have been convicted of “conspiracy to commit (fill in the crime)”.
Technically any and everyone that suspected and/or investigated the crime was a “conspiracy theorist” before the conviction.
And there have been “conspiracy theories” long before there were computers, TVs, radio, the printing press, ….
They want to control the information so people can only reason based on their approved “facts”.
They won’t stop with various electronic sources. They’re rewriting children’s books. Etc.
Even in conversation on the street, on the job or in the classroom you can be punished for uttering a word they’ve called “hate speech”.
The ACLU legal director remarked, “You don’t need the courts to protect speech that everybody agrees with, because that speech will be tolerated. You need a First Amendment to protect speech that people regard as intolerable or outrageous or offensive — because that is when the majority will wield its power to censor or suppress, and we have a First Amendment to prevent the government from doing that.”
However, I haven’t heard of the ACLU coming to the defense of Scott Adams after the cancellation of his Dilbert comic strip.
The ACLU has always been … selective … in who and what they defend.
“For example, mainstream things like: A modern society can run on intermittent energy. A natural gas whose main function is to increase plant growth is an existential danger to humanity…”
Or, that masks designed only to prevent the spread of bacteria are completely effective against airborne viruses.
” and flood the feeds with reliable, accurate information”
That is EXACTLY what places like WUWT, JoNova etc try to do
Counter the LIES and MAL-INFORMATION of the far left degenerates.
“”transform the internet into a tool which is truly at the service of the…””
We will never be as free as we were unless we push back
The argument being employed by UNESCO is exactly the same as the argument used by Antifa: We decide what’s good for the community and we will ‘protect’ the community from what is not good for the community.
Turns out that these proposals are precisely what the real fascists (and soviets) implemented in the 1930s. So the antifacists are advocating the same speech control the fascists did. Hmmmm?
Also: “Is it OK to punch a nazi? Of course, it’s OK to punch a nazi.”
“See? I’m punching people. Are you defending the nazis?”
Like the modern media, the ANTIFA do questions and answers, use their own assertions as evidence, legitimize their violence with their name (self identification): they assert they are the good guys, and more and more of the mass media use that self identification as proof they do good.
As I have said before, the Bandar-log are getting ever more shrill and desperate.
Brother, your tail hangs down behind…
Remember the old sign: Bankrupt Communism, “Throw the UN Out Of New York City” ?
These days the name Gotham seems more appropriate
Gotham has always been appropriate. The last time I was there, in the late-60s, I was in military uniform and two guys attempted to relieve me of my duffel bag in broad daylight, while crossing a busy intersection.
When I read about the ‘highly organised denial of scientific facts’ my first thought was that they meant IPCC reports. Ah, the naivety of the young ….
The IPCC reports are what they should have been criticizing.
Perhaps I’m wrong but it seems that the systematizing of error was not so much in the reports themselves but in the summaries and what was done with them afterwards.
Thanks for highlighting this frantic effort to regain control, Eric!
In your final paragraph – “..empowered free people…”
Yes, and 8+ billion times over, Yes.
I cannot wait for the day the entire cabal of crazed bureaucrats is deposed. Cannot. Wait.
It won’t happen until we enter “the best of times and the worst of times.”
From the article: “The UNESCO chief closed the conference by urging all countries to join its efforts to transform the internet into a tool which is truly at the service of the public”
No! It’s not at the service of the public, it is for the benefit of UN/Government Elites who think they should run the whole world.
Define disinformation. One person’s disinformation is another person’s facts. I don’t want Elites deciding which is which. I’ll decide for myself. Of course, I need ALL sides of the story in order to do that, and these Elite UN dictators only want their side of the story told. So, No! To Hell with your censorship efforts.
Look at the United Nations Human Rights Council.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Human_Rights_Council
Some current members are China, Cuba, Somalia, Vietnam,
As my left wing acquaintances assure me, government is the people. Therefore when the government owns everything, it is merely the people owning everything, which means there is nothing to fear.
Beyond that, it is impossible for a government of the people to harm the people, because that would be like individuals deliberately harming themselves.
Anyone who fears government must nothing more than a right wing extremist, and probably a racist, sexist, white supremacist to boot. I wish I was exagerating.
Reminds me of something my political science teacher said my freshman year in HS back in ’68 (maybe ’69).
“The beauty of deficit spending is that we owe the money to ourselves.”
He obviously taught politics and not economics.
It was only 4 or 5 years before that the US stopped making our coins out of silver and copper.
PS The silver in 10 1963 dimes would be worth about $30 now.
From the article: “Climate disinformation is shared widely online, seeking to sow division and delay climate action. We need to fight back and flood the feeds with reliable, accurate information, writes UN Under-Secretary-General Melissa ”
The problem you have is that reliable, accurate information, does not show that CO2 is a danger or that it needs to be controlled and regulated.
Climate Alarmists have taken the available CO2 data, which is nothing to be alarmed about, and turned it into a Science Fiction Horror Story. That’s the real climate disinformation. The alarmists efforts to hide these distortions of reality are what is behind their efforts to censor information.
From the article: “I’m actually encouraged by these frantic efforts by mostly left wing politicians and UN bureaucrats to use coercion to regain control of the narrative, because I see it as evidence they are losing.”
I think you are correct. The climate alarmists don’t have anything new to offer, and they didn’t have anything in the past to offer, so they have nothing now, and they are beginning to realize it as they try to make arguments for their side which are promptly shot down by skeptics like is done at WUWT every day.
I heard Vivek Ramaswamy, a newly declared Republican candidate for president in 2024, say yesterday that he intended to go hard after the climate change religion!
Vivek is a smart guy. I want to hear him argue the skeptic case. I think he would do an excellent job telling the truth about CO2 as he seems to be very informed on the subject.
I’m guessing Vivek will be the only Republican going hard after the climate change religion, but after Vivek gets to air his opinions in public, then the other Republicans are going to have to respond, and that will be *very* interesting.
Vivek is going to be talking about the real problems we face, and will shoot down the fake problems we face.
Vivek will be a very valuable contributor to the Republican narrative. I look forward to hearing what he says on a variety of very important subjects for the American people.
“….then the other Republicans are going to have to respond, and that will be *very* interesting.”
They won’t be able to challenge him as few if any will understand the subject as well.
Well, I think Vivek is going to make the other candidates either have to come out in support of building more windmills or in opposition.
I want the candidates to have to take a stand and then defend it in public. Vivek can make that happen. The other candidates better practice what they are going to say because they are going to have to express an opinion, or Vivek is going to make them look pretty stupid about the subject.
Other than nuclear war, is there anything more important than discussing the destruction of the West’s economies and societies because of an unwarranted effort to regulate CO2 use? Our future rests on resisting the CO2 scaremongering. Republicans better lead the way on this or we are all going over the cliff together because of a phony human-caused climate change scam that we were too stupid to put a stop to.
It’s unlikely that the average earthling knows or cares about this argument. They are more interested in reality show television, their next meal, financing a new car, their favorite sports team or the welfare of their pets. A minority of the human race ever considers the ramifications of curtailment of free speech or its role in scientific discovery. The problem is that a self-appointed elite has decided to guide the less gifted in a journey to utopia. Sadly, these elites will never suffer retribution commensurate with their misdeeds.
If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever. George Orwell 1984
The Ministry of Truth is now thoroughly embedded in the education system.
This is from a lesson guide for teacher’s teaching high school organic chemistry:
The author is the Royal Society of Chemistry. A 175 year old institution with a royal charter.
Brazil Supreme Court? More like the unofficial anti conservative party!
In France, we always hear from the political science experts (aka leftist hacks) that the US Supreme Court is far right, an not legitimate, but none of the commentators say anything about the Brazillian court!
This all smells like panic. Moving into a totalitarian narrative control NEVER works if the Regime doesn’t have near 100% control of the information. They do not and the internet is their Achilles Hill.
The fight on the internet reminds me a little of the fight on the Guttenberg’s press. They lost it then, they will lose it again.
The political fact(science is SETTLED on this I tell you) of life is that every time when the population at large has an access to a flow of information not under a total control of the current Regime, this information leads to the downfall of the Regime every time, if the Regime is deemed too totalitarian.
There are other kinds of Revolutions of course but the information-freed Revolutions are a thing and we may be seeing one in our lifetimes.
I am new to WUWT and my specialization is political science and totalitarian regimes. I think that thus website is wonderful and it deals with things I have little understanding of right now but hope to get more of it.
My skepticism of the “climate change” bs is not new but I just smelled a rat because of my interests.
I hope to gain more arguments, than just my gut feeling, on here.