The ugly picture of collusion between the feds and social media platforms around COVID just got a whole lot uglier.
Recent filings from a lawsuit by the Louisiana and Missouri attorneys general against the Biden administration reveal that Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg gave Dr. Anthony Fauci his personal phone number shortly before the platform started to crack down on alleged COVID misinformation.
Is this how The Post — and many others — got banned, throttled or labeled as purveyors of misinformation for merely raising the possibility (as we did in a prescient February 2020 op-ed) that COVID originated from an accidental lab-leak in Wuhan?
Of course federal and state health agencies have the right to take to social media to call out actual errors and engage in arguments (even shrill and tendentious ones).
But leveraging state power and cozy relationships with Big Tech to suppress stories that might implicate muck-a-mucks like Fauci for spectacularly bad judgment (in this case, championing funding for viral gain-of-function research in China) is deeply unethical.
Recall that Facebook — having left its ban on such posts in place for months — suddenly changed its mind on the issue when the Biden administration announced it was investigating the possibility of such a leak. Recall, too, that the documents show Fauci was only one of some 32 federal officials who might have been in touch with Facebook about managing the COVID narrative.
That the ban was nakedly political in nature was apparent from the start; the abrupt reversal only made it even more blindingly obvious.
These new revelations about Fauci’s direct line to the man steering Facebook prove beyond a doubt that efforts to stamp down the lab-leak theory had nothing at all to do with public health or safety — and everything to do with back-channel deals among the elite.