While others demand crackdowns on “fake news,” the Society reminds us that the history of science is one of error correction:
A leading science organization, the Royal Society (Britain’s equivalent of the National Academy of Sciences), has put out a report discouraging social media censorship, with special reference to the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Royal Society, the U.K.’s academy of sciences, published a study of online scientific and health misinformation Wednesday, investigating its root causes and brainstorming possible solutions. The scientists concluded that censoring content deemed to be misinformation is often harmful and antithetical to the principles of scientific inquiry…
The report found that online censorship risked pushing misinformation underground and off of major social media platforms, where it is less likely to be exposed to countervailing opinions. Censorship also risks removing or suppressing content that may be true or helpful to the evolving scientific understanding of certain concepts.AILAN EVANS, “DON’T CENSOR MISINFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA, LEADING SCIENTISTS SAY” AT THE STREAM (JANUARY 19, 2022)
The Royal Society report seeks to establish a rational basis for public trust in scienceDenyse O’Leary, “Royal Society: Don’t censor misinformation; it makes things worse” at Mind Matters News
Takehome: It’s a fact that much COVID news later thought to need correction was purveyed by official sources, not blogs or Facebook or Twitter accounts.