We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Distrust is the inevitable result of censorship. Oh, and announcing Peak 2021.

Doctors Fiona Godlee and Kamran Abbasi, editors of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), have written an open letter from from the BMJ to Mark Zuckerberg:

Dear Mark Zuckerberg,

We are Fiona Godlee and Kamran Abbasi, editors of The BMJ, one of the world’s oldest and most influential general medical journals. We are writing to raise serious concerns about the “fact checking” being undertaken by third party providers on behalf of Facebook/Meta.

In September, a former employee of Ventavia, a contract research company helping carry out the main Pfizer covid-19 vaccine trial, began providing The BMJ with dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings, and emails. These materials revealed a host of poor clinical trial research practices occurring at Ventavia that could impact data integrity and patient safety. We also discovered that, despite receiving a direct complaint about these problems over a year ago, the FDA did not inspect Ventavia’s trial sites.

The BMJ commissioned an investigative reporter to write up the story for our journal. The article was published on 2 November, following legal review, external peer review and subject to The BMJ’s usual high level editorial oversight and review.[1]

But from November 10, readers began reporting a variety of problems when trying to share our article. Some reported being unable to share it. Many others reported having their posts flagged with a warning about “Missing context … Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people.” Those trying to post the article were informed by Facebook that people who repeatedly share “false information” might have their posts moved lower in Facebook’s News Feed. Group administrators where the article was shared received messages from Facebook informing them that such posts were “partly false.”

Readers were directed to a “fact check” performed by a Facebook contractor named Lead Stories.[2]

We find the “fact check” performed by Lead Stories to be inaccurate, incompetent and irresponsible.

— It fails to provide any assertions of fact that The BMJ article got wrong

— It has a nonsensical title: “Fact Check: The British Medical Journal Did NOT Reveal Disqualifying And Ignored Reports Of Flaws In Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine Trials”

— The first paragraph inaccurately labels The BMJ a “news blog”

Do read the whole thing, which is quite an important step in both fighting censorship by social media and in fighting Covid-19. These aims are not in opposition. I stopped my excerpt there for what some may call a trivial reason: to leap to the defence of blogging. While I sympathise with the irritation felt by the editors of the BMJ at hearing their venerable journal, founded in 1840, described as a “news blog” I have to say that there are some blogs I would trust more than some newspapers, even some older than the BMJ. For instance I found out about this matter via Not the Bee.

Yes, that’s 2021, folks, when a link from the “truth is stranger than fiction” non-satirical spinoff of an American Christian satirical website (even as a Christian myself, those are weird words to put next to each other) takes me to an open letter from the editors of the august British Medical Journal in which they angrily respond to a so-called “fact checker” working for a social media site who thinks the best way to combat the conspiracy theory that “they” might be suppressing news about inadequacies in the testing of vaccines is to suppress news about inadequacies in the testing of vaccines.

18 comments to Distrust is the inevitable result of censorship. Oh, and announcing Peak 2021.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Last paragraph of your post, Natalie, is pretty epic. Bravo.

  • Ferox

    All of this only seems weird if you assume that the people who operate Facebook and other social media have the slightest concern whatsoever about facts.

    Remove that assumption and it all seems perfectly obvious.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Ferox – I think that the people who operate Facebook and other social media are concerned about facts. That’s why they go out of their way to disappear them.

  • John

    As the Lancet’s reputation has been severely compromised over the past two years my go-to reaction now is to similarly distrust any other august medical publication including the BMJ.

    Do I possess the knowledge to justify such a stance? Almost certainly not. An extremely bad development.

    Total distrust of the bbc-led mainstream media means I now hold my nose and search the internet* in a fraught effort to best determine the truth – as opposed to that vilest and most dangerous of recent concepts “my own truth”?

    * no offence intended to this site.

  • Fact checkers are nothing of the sort. They are politically biased opinionators peddling a narrative.

  • […] The BMJ has also uncovered practices that affect the risk of the Pfizer vaccine and this has been deliberately suppressed. See Samizdata. […]

  • Sam Duncan

    John, my impression is that the BMJ is one of the few establishment organs to come out of this mess with any shred of integrity intact. Which isn’t to say it’s perfect – not being part of its usual target audience I honestly don’t know – but I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen.

    Total distrust of the bbc-led mainstream media means I now hold my nose and search the internet* in a fraught effort to best determine the truth – as opposed to that vilest and most dangerous of recent concepts “my own truth”?


  • jmc

    The “fact checkers” are almost all just above minimum wage unemployed liberal arts grads with zero science, mathematical or any relevant domain expertise. Their “fact checking” is little more than muddled and often incoherent Argument From Authority. And even then often misquoting the supposed “Authority”.

    If you start following the money, the financing, for the “fact checking” organizations it soon ends up with either very politically motivated foundations or very political motivated tech billionaires like Pierre Omidyar. And of course people like Soros are in the mix somewhere. As expected from someone who made most of his money from de-facto insider trader.

  • Paul Marks

    In court (there have been and are legal cases) Facebook, and the rest, declare that their “Fact Checkers” are just presenting OPINIONS.

    That is not how Facebook and the rest present the matter “on line” – they present it as “Fact Checking”, trying to fight against “false or misleading information”.

    In reality the “false or misleading information” is the “mainstream” itself – the tidal wave of lies (on just about everything) from the international corporate and governance bureaucracies.

    And make no mistake, they know they are not telling the truth.

    The “Flood” (as they called it in those conferences in 2019 and before) is not about washing away “false or misleading information” the “Flood” (the “mainstream”) IS the “false or misleading information”.

    They may justify their lies by holding that they are building a better society for the future – but they know they are pushing lies and trying to crush the truth (on many subjects).

  • Paul Marks

    “How do you know they know they are pushing lies and trying to crush the truth?”

    Because AFTER things are proved – they CARRY ON with their “Flood” of false information, and their efforts to crush the truth.

  • The Jannie

    Did the BMJ receive a human-generated reply? No bugger else does.

  • Paul Marks

    The American FDA is part funded by the drug companies – such as Pfizer. Pfizer also funds a lot of the U.S. media.

    Tony Fauci SMEARED (actively discouraged) Early Treatment for Covid 19 – partly because he wanted Emergency Authorisation for the “vaccines” (if that is the correct word) and he could not get Emergency Authorisation if there was effective Early Treatment for Covid 19. THERE IS EFFECTIVE EARLY TREATMENT FOR COVID 19 – but the health bureaucrats pretended that there was not, and thus hundreds of thousands of people died.

    See such books as “The Real Anthony Fauci” by Robert Kennedy Jr (boo-hiss an “anti vaxer” – but what he says about Mr Fauci is correct).

  • Paul Marks

    Now some of the British newspapers are talking about a FOURTH injection – which many Israelis have already had.

    The massacre of vast numbers of people in many Western countries, by the FALSE denial that there was effective Early Treatment for Covid 19, was a terrible crime. Now with the “get 4 injections” we have collapsed into farce.

  • @Paul Marks – jabs every 10 weeks they are saying. That will hopefully make even the most propagandised souls sit up and take notice. The more jabs required, the more people will say “enough.”

  • Duncan S


    Some people are already saying “enough”, albeit using more colourful language.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Longrider – the point of absurdity, utter absurdity, has been reached.

    But good news – the establishment are now admitting that there IS Early Treatment for Covid 19. As long as it is a new drug made by a big Megacorporation.

    Early Treatment “did not exist” only when a lot of money could not be made from it. Still at least now they are admitting that there is Early Treatment for Covid 19 – the chant of “TINET” (there-is-no-early-treatment) has stopped.