Covid HAS harmed online politics – but so have social media platforms that suppress alternatives

The Covid-19 pandemic and its lockdowns that forced so many of us online for our social interactions has polarised and poisoned political debate, according to some arguments.

But is it really the people reading and responding who are fouling the well, or the organisations dictating what they see and influencing how they respond?

This Writer’s experience is that people turned away from politics – hugely – during the lockdowns, and are now only slowly returning.

Vox Political had its highest-ever readership in March 2020 – nearly one million hits, and I think that was because I was reporting the failures of Boris Johnson’s leadership on Covid in an unbiased way.

Readership remained high during April and May, but then it suddenly and sharply dropped off during June.

It is certainly possible that some of this decline was due to the debate about Covid-19. In his article on the BBC News website, Richard Morris puts forward views that Dominic Cummings’s visit to Barnard Castle polarised the public, as did the debate on mask-wearing and the lockdowns themselves. I would add the debate on vaccination, also.

But who fuelled those debates? Suddenly the social media were full of “experts” we’d never heard of before, all screaming that their view was right and we were fools if we didn’t accept it.

Who promoted those views? Who gave them the space? Wasn’t it right-wing media outlets with an agenda to get people back out of their homes, never minding that they were in danger of death from the disease, and into work making money for rich industrialists again?

How many Tory MPs spent the whole of the crisis ranting about the economy when they should have been concerned with their constituents’ health?

And how many right-wing social media organisations minimised rational debate by using algorithms that push links to sites like mine down users’ notifications in order to starve us of followers and views?

I’m thinking of Facebook under Nick Clegg, and of Twitter, because those are main outlets of mine. Vox Political‘s following on FB has been static at 42,500 for years because of this mistreatment.

It’s a recordable phenomenon. I have lost count of the number of old readers who have contacted me to say they were amazed Vox Political was still going because they had not seen a link for (insert long time period here), despite having asked to be alerted when notifications are posted.

And sites like mine lose out on shares because people are afraid they will be criticised for supporting points of view that don’t conform with those of their more loudly-opinionated right-wing acquaintances who have only gained a platform because they have received preferential treatment.

None of this is properly addressed in the Morris article.

Instead we see information that five per cent of UK internet users are in a “left-wing echo chamber” and two per cent of them are in a similar position on the right.

We see an opinion that “it’s ‘only human’ for journalists, politicians and those in media to see extreme negative reactions to their posts online and for this to ‘colour your perception of the whole world the same way’, with no discussion of who is posting those reactions and why.

Do you remember the government’s Nudge Unit, which is now at least partly in private hands? It was a shady organisation David Cameron used to push the public into supporting his policies by subtly guiding us into decisions we would not have taken otherwise.

So, for example, people may have found themselves supporting the benefit policies that have killed thousands of good people for no reason, because they were “nudged” into believing that benefit claimants were all scroungers who were perfectly capable of work but were defrauding the system (tell that to the diabetes sufferer who could not keep his insulin at the right temperature because he could not afford to power his fridge – oh, but you can’t: he’s dead).

The article concludes by saying it may “take years to find out the lasting impact on society of what took place in the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021” – but I think it’s worse than that.

I think after those years have passed, we’ll be presented with a conclusion about what happened that suits the people in power now – because they will have used all the levers at their disposal, including manipulation of the social media by “nudging”, to make you believe them.

Call me paranoid if you like, but what did you think of mask-wearing and social distancing, of the lockdowns, of vaccinations before somebody told you they were wrong? How did that affect you? And how many people do you know who were swayed by these dangerous whispers?

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12 thoughts on “Covid HAS harmed online politics – but so have social media platforms that suppress alternatives

  1. jake

    well said! but I think the dangers of Covid have been vastly overstated…far more people actually died from the policies set in place, rather than the disease itself. For example, I came damn near to being ran over by some lunatic double masked ALONE in a car with the windows drawn up middle of summer. I don’t think he even saw me because his glasses were steamed up…..

  2. mohandeer

    I have probably already stated this: because I have a perfectly adequate immune system that has not been compromised by flu jabs or over prescribing of antibiotics I have never had a flu jab. I lived with my parents for many years and they each were vaccinated against flu but I was not. Each year, some 7-10 days after their jabs they would be stricken with flu. Since I have never caught the flu I decided that I would not need the Cov2 vaccine but I did research worldwide the Covid pandemic.

    In my research I came across thousands of advisory articles regarding the impact of this so-called killer flu. I learned that the most at risk were the elderly and the immune compromised many of whom would have been disabled.

    Even at the beginning of this pandemic, people were being treated successfully with drugs like HCQ and Ivermectin but neither was made available or their efficacy against the cytokine storm the virus produced announced and we lost well over 80,000 people needlessly.

    The information is out there but you have to know where to look and since I surf the net many hours each day I found the statistics and much needed information required for ordinary people to make an informed decision on what care they should receive.

    The most successful countries at battling against the virus have been the socialist/communist countries, the continent of Africa and a district of some 200 million in Uttar Pradesh eastern India.
    Africa, because it was only 6% vaccinated when the global infection figures were rising was fairing far better than wealthier countries who could afford the vaccine and had access to it. It’s infection rate and death toll was measurably far lower per capita(the continent has some 54 countries and a population of 1.3 billion)than the global average.

    In India to the east is the province of Uttar Pradesh with a population of some 200 million squashed in like sardines, with the capital alone home to 20 million. The governor of that province took it upon himself to have everyone immunised against the disease’s worst effects and limit the spread by using…Ivermectin. It worked. Uttar Pradesh probably has the best statistics in the world regarding the efficacy and long term outcome for it’s population with the lowest hospitalisations and deaths.

    As for masks, I was in favour of them initially, in order to ensure that as a possible asymptomatic carrier I could infect other people(this was the information being promoted by the government and the Fourth Estate). The masks themselves, as it turned out, were proven to be inefficient both in protecting the wearer against Cov2 and further, exposing the wearer to other pathogens they were carrying which without the masks would have been harmless.

    We also now know that the vaccinated were themselves the super spreaders like Typhoid Mary.
    Since the situation will not improve as long as people accept more doses of the vaccine I have now joined the majority of people around me and only carry the mask in case I am required to wear it. The greatest threat posed by Cov2 now lies with the minority who want more vaccination as they will be the ones who perpetuate the spread and also damage their immune system and it’s response capabilities.

    All pathogens seek to survive and will adapt to their environment in order to do so, that is why Omicron evolved. The spike protein used in the experimental vaccine has now become the enemy our bodies must fight to survive(not mine obviously). As one epidemiologist put it, once we stop watching the TV and stop buying newspapers we will be better able to see what is glaringly obvious from the last two years. A shambolic self destructive approach to a simple and effective alternative way of thinking.

    Bungling Boris and his inept regime were absolutely the worst people in our society to entrust our welfare to(and our economy). In the years to come, as with all under tested big Pharma “cures”, the worst may manifest itself in terrible ways. In this I hope I am wrongly concerned.
    Because the take up of the Cov2 vaccine is dropping so much the next thing we have to deal with is a “monkey pox” which has been manufactured by hybridising a pathogen to be used as a biological weapon and a new “bird flu” which previously has never been harmful to humans is now being promoted as the next pandemic requiring expensive vaccines being produced by …..Pfizer, who else?

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      You’ve done this research but who are the rest of us supposed to believe? We have the right-wing media and the government on one side, you here, other people elsewhere… it’s a ridiculous – and dangerous – situation. My personal opinion is that somebody was determined to make a fat wad of cash out of this and they didn’t care who would suffer because of it. And there does seem to have been a large amount of money handed over to friends of the Conservative Party for… not a lot, doesn’t there?

      1. jake

        it’s called ‘programming’ for a reason. I’ve been researching for years and long time ago came to conclusion that this was always the plan! Climate change is real, the PTB had a choice, stop suppressing zero point technoligies, at which point they wouldn’t be the PTB anymore…or vastly reduce the population somehow. If you were a selfish cnut of a billionaire, which option would you choose? They’ve been developing the tech for decades…population reduction, mostly from deaths from the so called vaccine, infertility…do away with any notion of paper, digital currency = total control and tacking of every survivor for EVER. I got destroyed for it, even ostricised by family…but I don’t regret anything that I have done, accept for not possibly physically defending myself…maybe I managed to wake up a few people along the way!

  3. kateuk

    I signed up for email notifications so I get an email when there is a new article. Suddenly I’m starting to see the articles on Facebook again, no idea why.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I don’t have any idea why either! Perhaps it’s because the article about Rachel Riley, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard went viral and the algorithm can’t work out how to keep it down?

  4. James

    “Call me paranoid if you like, but what did you think of mask-wearing and social distancing, of the lockdowns, of vaccinations before somebody told you they were wrong? How did that affect you? And how many people do you know who were swayed by these dangerous whispers?”

    Well, Mike – what I thought of mask-wearing and social distancing right from the start, on an a priori scientific basis, is that they were a pretty useless chimera. (Seems such as – what’s the bloke’s name? – ah yes, Fauci – he agreed, by the way – depending on which statements by that weasel you happened to listen to) Same regarding lockdowns. And vaccines too, especially the novel mRNA ‘vaccines’, which – strictly speaking – aren’t vaccines at all – and, regarding ALL the vaccines, very much including the mRNA ones, the fact that they are (all) still experimental!

    Everyone who has been vaccinated against COVID has been an unpaid lab rat. MAYBE they’re OK, though I have serious doubts, especially considering the reputations and previous naughtinesses of such a Pfizer. We really won’t actually KNOW for a number of years yet. Anyway, whatever – I have opted to be in the control group for this global experiment, as have (independent decisions) my wife, step-daughter and a large number, albeit probably not large enough statistically, of others around the world. Early treatment was always the obviously sensible route to take. Certain repurposed drugs clearly have been effective, to varying extents, whatever the CDC and WHO have to say.

    Are you willing to consider alternative points of view? Including from eminently qualified medical and scientific practitioners whose opinions deviate from the dictats of the cabals in positions of power? Will you respond constructively to this comment? (And I’m very seriously LEFT wing, not right!)

    Incidentally, I would be interested to hear any comments you might have concerning that Schwab chappie and the multitudinous placemen he seems to have successfully inserted in governments all over the world, not to mention his World Economic Forum, which includes both the politicos and corporate megamoguls. This is not evidence of me absorbing conspiracy theory; it’s open, in plain sight – blatant!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ve said my bit many times. Happy for anyone to discuss it here, as long as you do so on-topic, and the topic here is the way such discussions may or may not have been manipulated in the mass- and social media.

    2. mohandeer

      World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and Executive Director Klaus Schwab issued a thinly veiled threat toward Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro after the strongman refused to sign the World Health Organization‘s (WHO) pandemic treaty.

      “Let’s also be clear: The future is not just happening. The future is built by us, a powerful community – you, here in this room. We have the means to IMPOSE THIS STATE [of the future] ON THE WORLD,” Schwab said in a video posted on Twitter.


      “Brazil will not get into this [pandemic treaty]. Brazil is autonomous and will not get into this, you can forget that. I’ve already [spoken] to our foreign relations cabinet and if that proposal goes forward, it won’t be with Brazil,” said Bolsonaro.
      Likewise the WHO’s grab for power serving the Big Pharma profit interests, have had to back pedal on their demands after US Republicans introducing new bills(Yes, you read that right, who knew the Reps gave a fig about the American people and how much money is being diverted to supporting the war in Ukraine instead of using it to serve the US citizenry) claiming “The sovereignty of the US is not negotiable”

      Although I consider myself a globalist, I view it as an opportunity for grassroots involvement in our futures, not a corporate sponsored state dictatorship(which is exactly what the WEF is).

  5. jake

    and now we have the mokeypox….supposedly leaked from one of those amerikan funded biolabs in ukraine that don’t officially exist….if that was the case, why have we not seen a wave of infections spreading out from that central point? Like covid, it seems to me that it has been simultaneously released on numerous locations around the planet….anybody else aware of what the WHO is voting on right now? It could be full blown china/ australia fascism all over the planet by Christmas…..

    1. mohandeer

      Jake, I’m with you regarding the most recent Monkey pox “outbreak”. In a recent post from RRN it was exposed that the CDC “quietly fires Monkey Pox deniers. It transpire that the first to be fired was a virologist who had worked at the CDC for 17 years. On May 16th he was shown pictures of an alleged monkey pox patient, a Massachusetts man with no international travel history and whose hands were covered with blisters, boils and pustules – symptoms of monkey pox. The CDC had already declared the man monkeypox positive but wanted the virologist to sign off on the diagnosis.The virologist apparently felt something was amiss, for he compared the image against a CDC database of past monkey pox patients and discovered it matched exactly the picture of an American missionary who had contracted monkeypox while in Eat Africa in 2012. That person had never lived in Massachusetts, and was in fact, now dead.
      “The virologist we’re talking about, brought his findings to Dr. Braden, saying he couldn’t in all good conscience sign any paperwork because the case was fraudulent. He said someone within the center was recycling old photos and was presenting them as current active cases. Braden thanked him for uncovering “an inconsistency” and said he’d bring the matter to Rochelle Walensky’s attention, the whistleblower said” On arriving at work the next morning, the virologist was promptly fired.
      See: REAL RAW NEWS | By Michael Baxter |
      May 26, 2022

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