Leaked Documents Show How China’s Army of Paid Internet Trolls Helped Censor the Coronavirus
As the coronavirus spread in China, the government stage-managed what appeared on the domestic internet to make the virus look less severe and the authorities more capable, according to thousands of leaked directives and other files.
In the early hours of Feb. 7, China’s powerful internet censors experienced an unfamiliar and deeply unsettling sensation. They felt they were losing control.
The news was spreading quickly that Li Wenliang, a doctor who had warned about a strange new viral outbreak only to be threatened by the police and accused of peddling rumors, had died of COVID-19. Grief and fury coursed through social media. To people at home and abroad, Li’s death showed the terrible cost of the Chinese government’s instinct to suppress inconvenient information.
Yet China’s censors decided to double down. Warning of the “unprecedented challenge” Li’s passing had posed and the “butterfly effect” it may have set off, officials got to work suppressing the inconvenient news and reclaiming the narrative, according to confidential directives sent to local propaganda workers and news outlets.
They ordered news websites not to issue push notifications alerting readers to his death. They told social platforms to gradually remove his name from trending topics pages. And they activated legions of fake online commenters to flood social sites with distracting chatter, stressing the need for discretion: “As commenters fight to guide public opinion, they must conceal their identity, avoid crude patriotism and sarcastic praise, and be sleek and silent in achieving results.”
Italy Orders Companies Not to Pay Unvaccinated Workers
Unjabbed employees face large fines if they show up to work.
The Italian government has passed a decree applying to both the private and public sector ordering companies to withhold pay from workers who refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
The decree mandates that all employees get the vaccine ‘green pass’, which led to questions about what would happen to the millions of Italians who remain unvaccinated.
The government is attempting to avoid potential legal action by directing companies not to fire the unvaccinated, but simply to not pay them while telling employees not to show up to work under threat of being fined if they do so.
“Instead, they should be considered to be on an unjustified absence and have their wages or salaries withheld,” writes Ken Macon.
“Those found to be working without a vaccine passport could be punished with fines of up to €1,500. Additionally, the government said it would not cater for the test costs for those who would prefer not to take the vaccine.”
Tennis Star Says His Season And Possibly His Career Is Over After Taking COVID Vaccine A Few Weeks Ago
Former world No. 25 Jeremy Chardy says he has a “series of problems” after taking the COVID-19 vaccine and his 2021 season is over. This summer, 34-year-old Chardy decided to get vaccinated and it didn’t work out well for him.
Chardy has become the latest tennis star to speak out against vaccines after experiencing what he describes as violent, near-paralyzing pains across his body since taking the jab, warning that there is “no hindsight” once people have received the treatment.
The 34-year-old says he his priority is to “take care of myself” after seing two doctors and taking tests in a bid to deduce why he has found physical exertion so difficult since being vaccinated.
“Suddenly I cannot train, I cannot play,” the 2017 Davis Cup winner told AFP, explaining that he received the jab between this summer’s Olympics, when he was beaten by gold medalist Alex Zverev in the quarterfinals, and the US Open, when he lost in straight sets in the first round to Matteo Berrettini at the end of August.
“At the moment, my season is stopped and I don’t know when I’ll start again.
No, Florida Hospitals Are Not Being Overrun With COVID Patients, Despite MSM Headlines
The delta variant wave of COVID-19 ravaged under-vaccinated American communities, particularly in the south, leading to frequent media reports of overwhelmed hospitals and fully-occupied ICUs.
The question of just how overwhelmed hospitals are varies from location to location. Media reports highlighted anecdotal cases of individuals being denied care due to a lack of beds, or high stress on healthcare workers facing an influx of patients, but such incidents were not equally distributed across every state.
Florida was particularly frequently criticized during the delta wave. The state saw daily case numbers surge 33% higher than its previous peak during the height of the delta wave in August, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
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