See our latest in The Wall Street Journal . . .
The suppression of debate over the origin of the novel coronavirus highlights a broader problem. Governments were once the chief impediments to free speech and free markets, but extremely large private companies may have become the greater danger. These hyperscale firms serve as hubs and gateways in the highly networked knowledge economy. They are well-positioned to exert special control over information—and other companies.
China’s stalling and lying about Covid’s origins weren’t surprising. On the other hand, the behavior of U.S. officials and scientists was startling. They dissembled over their intimate knowledge of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their early suspicions the virus was “engineered.” But who expects politicians and bureaucrats to be honest and competent? That’s what an open society is for. Truth and accountability are the responsibility of a free press—and a free internet.
What happens when the press and the internet aren’t so free? Over the past year, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook joined with a partisan press to block and throttle discussion across a range of Covid-19 topics. They discouraged and erased talk of the Wuhan lab-leak hypothesis, cheap and safe generic treatments such as ivermectin, Sweden’s heterodox decision to stay mostly open, and the inefficacy (and cruelty) of school closures. continue reading (subscription required) . . .