The Virality Project’s Censorship Agenda

Authored by Andrew Lowenthal via the Brownstone Institute

In November 2023 Alex Gutentag and I reported on the Virality Project’s internal content-flagging system, as released by the US House Committee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

Initiated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and led by the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the Virality Project sought to censor those who questioned government Covid-19 policies. The Virality Project primarily focused on so-called “anti-vaccine” “misinformation;” however, my Twitter Files investigations with Matt Taibbi revealed this included “true stories of vaccine side effects.”

A further review of the content flagged by the Virality Project demonstrates how they pushed social media platforms to censor such “true stories.” This was often done incompetently and without even a cursory investigation of the original sources. In one instance, the Virality Project reporters told platforms that reports of a child injured in a vaccine trial were “false” due to the timing; citing the dates of a Moderna trial when in fact the child had been in a Pfizer trial.

Trigger-happy researchers-turned-activists at the Virality Project went further, alerting their Big Tech partners (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok) of protests, jokes, and general dissent.

Led by former CIA fellow Renee DiResta, the Virality Project functioned as an intermediary for government censorship. Ties between the US government and the academic research center were extremely close. DHS had “fellows” embedded at the Stanford Internet Observatory, while SIO had interns embedded at CISA, and former DHS staff contributed to the Virality Project’s final report.

The Virality Project also had contact with the White House and the Office of the Surgeon General, described the CDC as a “partner” in its design documents, and the California Department of Public Health had a login to access the Jira content flagging system, as did CISA personnel.

Read More: The Virality Project’s Censorship Agenda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *