Facebook bans LifeSiteNews after reporting deaths from US gov't vaccine database

A researcher works on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen's University research lab in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 23, 2020.
A researcher works on a vaccine against the new coronavirus COVID-19 at the Copenhagen's University research lab in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 23, 2020. | AFP via Getty Images/Thibault Savary

A nonprofit pro-life news website has been permanently booted from Facebook after the social media giant accused it of publishing “false information about COVID-19 that could contribute to physical harm” over an article citing United States government information on people who died after receiving the vaccine. 

LifeSiteNews reported Tuesday that its Facebook account appears to have been permanently unpublished for violating the social media platform’s community standards on misinformation that “could cause physical harm.”  

The social media platform says that it removes pages that post content that discourages vaccinations. In justifying the ban, Facebook cited an April 9 article with the headline “COVID vaccines can be deadly for some.”

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That particular article highlighted an open letter that Dr. Hooman Noorchashm sent to the Food & Drug Administration and Pfizer warning about the dangers of administering COVID-19 vaccines to people who have or have had the disease. 

The doctor argued that those who have or recently had the disease have viral antigens present in the endothelial lining of blood vessels and other tissues. If such antigens are present, the doctor argues that immune response will be triggered by the vaccination and target the tissues, inflaming and damaging them. He argued that a result could be the formation of blood clots that might result in significant complications.

His immunological hypothesis appeared to be bolstered by recent data showing that the side effects from the vaccine were three times more likely to be seen in those who previously had the virus. 

The Telegraph reported Sunday that the figures came from King's College ZOE app, which has logged details from over 700,000 vaccinations and found “those with a prior infection were far more likely to report side effects than people who have not had the virus.” 

The LifeSiteNews article lists the information of several anecdotal cases of middle-aged and elderly people whose deaths were tabulated in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) as contracting the coronavirus and dying soon after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, the LifeSiteNews article doesn’t specify if the vaccine caused the deaths in question. 

The report also mentioned that local news reporting shows other cases of people who earlier contracted the virus and died after receiving the vaccine. One example was a 36-year-old who died from multi-system inflammatory syndrome. One doctor cited in an article linked to by LifeSiteNews cautioned against tying the 36-year-old's death to the vaccination, calling such an observation “preliminary.” 

“We are working with the CDC to see how vaccines can play in all directions,” Dr. Stephen Threlkeld told WREG Memphis. “We don’t have any data to suggest the vaccine has any effect in either direction.”

The Christian Post reached out to Facebook for comment on the action taken against LifeSiteNews. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that it removed the page for "violating our COVID-19 policies.”

Facebook’s “COVID-19 and Vaccine Policy” states that the platform seeks to “protect people from harmful content and new types of abuse related to COVID-19 and vaccines.”

“Based on input from experts in health communication and related fields,” Facebook says that it is also “taking additional steps amid the pandemic to reduce the distribution of content that does not violate our policies but may present misleading or sensationalized information about vaccines in a way that would be likely to discourage vaccinations …” 

In a lengthy segment about how some Americans have died after receiving the COVID shot on his Fox News show Wednesday, Tucker Carlson observed how differently the public officials and the press are treating this vaccine rollout and the risks associated with it versus previous public health responses. 

He noted that in 1976, the U.S. government vaccinated 45 million people with a swine flu vaccine, and 53 people reportedly died after receiving that shot. That program was stopped because of it as authorities deemed it too risky, he said.  

“Contrast that with what is happening now,” Carlson said. “This time, our health authorities have reserved their energy for anyone who dares to question vaccines. LifeSiteNews, a nonprofit news organization, just found itself permanently banned from Facebook. Why? Because it reported government numbers from the VAERS database.”   

Carlson further added that popular podcaster Joe Rogan was criticized in the media for asking whether young, healthy people should receive the COVID vaccine.

“If American citizens are going to be forced to take this vaccine or any other medicine, they have an absolute right to know what the effects of it might be. And they have an absolute right to ask that question without being silenced or censored or mocked or given the finger,” Carlson said. “No amount of happy talk or coercion or appeals to false patriotism can change that.”

The Facebook ban is not the first time LifeSiteNews has been banned from a major social media platform because of its content on COVID vaccines. 

Earlier this year, video streaming platform YouTube closed LifeSiteNews’ channel on similar grounds. 

Despite disagreeing with LifeSiteNews' presentation of the science and ethics surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines, National Catholic Bioethics Center bioethicist Edward Furton slammed the move.

“YouTube is not staffed by scientists, but by engineers and technicians who understand little to nothing about scientific matters,” he said in a February interview with Catholic News Agency

“Far worse, they favor a liberal ideology that supports abortion not only here at home but throughout the world. They believe that there is a universal right to kill the unborn. Such a view revokes their claim to moral superiority over others.”

“Censorship by big tech is one of the greatest threats to the principles of democracy that we have seen in decades,” he added. “This is done solely for the purpose of controlling information and preventing the free discussion of ideas among their fellow citizens.” 

A leaked video from July 2020, months before the U.S. government approved a COVID-19 vaccine, shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressing concern about the safety of COVID vaccines.

“But I do just want to make sure that I share some caution on this [vaccine] because we just don't know the long-term side effects of basically modifying people's DNA and RNA,” he said, according to journalist Sharyl Attkisson. “[B]asically the ability to produce those antibodies and whether that causes other mutations or other risks downstream. So, there's work on both paths of vaccine development.”

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