Reddit’s Censorship of The Great Barrington Declaration

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by Ethan Yang, The Burning Platform:

Earlier this week The Great Barrington Declaration went live garnering over 100,000 signatures at the time of this writing. The declaration, which has now been highlighted by celebrities and intellectuals across the world, called for a “Focused Protection” approach to combating Covid-19. The declaration explains 

“The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk. We call this Focused Protection.”

Such a policy is grounded in the traditional response to pandemics emulated by countries such as Sweden rather than the experimental lockdown approach that has characterized much of the world’s response to Covid-19. It takes a more realistic approach to the pandemic, understanding that there are certain tradeoffs that must be weighed and affirms the necessity of preserving to the best extent possible the normal functioning of society. The original architects of the declaration are three highly respected figures in the field of epidemiology.

They are Harvard Professor Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Oxford Professor Dr. Sunetra Gupta, and Stanford Professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya.

The signatories include thousands of public health officials and researchers as well as members of the general public. You can read more about the signatories as well as view the entire declaration on the website.

Reddit Censorship

The declaration appeared on the Reddit channels r/COVID-19 and r/Coronavirus, both large online communities with over 300,000 and 2.3 million members respectively. Shortly after both posts were removed by moderators.

This seems rather strange given that these are Covid-19 discussion forums filled with news and research reports relating to the virus. The declaration was crafted and signed by the world’s leading experts in medicine, particularly epidemiology. It is surely more important than this subreddit post about Lana Del Rey being criticized for wearing a mesh mask.

The reasons listed for the declaration’s removal are also unclear. Reddit’s content policy shows no clear guidelines for the removal of content such as the Great Barrington Declaration.

The explanation given from the moderators of r/COVID19

“Posts and, where appropriate, comments must link to a primary scientific source: peer-reviewed original research, pre-prints from established servers, and research or reports by governments and other reputable organisations. Please do not link to YouTube or Twitter.

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