Crack Downs on Anti-Vaccine Information Are a Mistake

Digital Trends reports that Google, Facebook, and Twitter are attempting to crack down on misinformation on vaccines and other claims about cancer cures, weight loss, etc. In my view, this is a mistake.

I realize there is a propensity to seek to stop or prevent what is viewed as disinformation. However, restricting or outright prohibiting such information or speech can actually backfire. The voices silenced by such policies can make them actually stronger by allowing the transmitters of such speech to make the case to their followers that they are being targeted as part of the conspiracy they claim is occurring. This, in turn, wins over or even converts people who may or may not have sympathized with people, such as Alex Jones of Infowars or Mike Adams of Natural News, to support them because they will be perceived as victims.

The answer to misinformation is more speech because, in the end, reason, if not the truth in general, in the vast majority of instances will prevail. A prime example of this is the climate change debate. Despite any and all attempts by the Left and their allies to push the claims about man-made climate change in order to enact policies based on it while attempting to shut out skeptics, the climate skeptics ended up prevailing in the overall debate.

The attempts to silence climate skeptics actually made them more credible in the court of public opinion since people perceived they were being excluded or suppressed or generated interest in them. That, and the fact that they were more consistent and clear when making their overall case, generated interest in their conclusions, including the books and media that allowed them to be heard.