LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM — The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the public service TV and radio broadcaster of the British government, recently gloated over alerting Facebook to remove groups where people discussed injuries they believed were caused by COVID-19 vaccines.
During their research, journalists at the BBC noticed that users – in an “attempt to circumvent censorship” – were using a carrot emoji instead of spelling out the word “vaccine.”
“The BBC has seen several groups, one with hundreds of thousands of members, in which the emoji appears in place of the word ‘vaccine’. Facebook's algorithms tend to focus on words rather than images. The groups are being used to share unverified claims of people being either injured or killed by vaccines. Once the BBC alerted Facebook's parent company, Meta, the groups were removed,” BBC Technology Editor Zoe Kleinman writes in an article published on September 16.
One of the groups that the BBC refers to is likely to have been “Died Suddenly News” – a Facebook group with around 300,000 members. A screenshot from the group’s profile picture shows that it claims to be “The Fastest Growing Group On FaceBook [sic].”
The group disappeared from Facebook, probably after the BBC’s self-proclaimed intervention.
Following the trend throughout the Western world to label any information or reporting that hasn’t been vetted and approved by the hybrid public-private censorship regime that was introduced during the unprecedented COVID-19 response, the BBC has recently hired a dedicated “Disinformation and Social Media Correspondent.”
The correspondent’s name is Marianna Spring and she graduated in 2018 from the University of Oxford with a bachelor’s degree in French and Russian. According to her LinkedIn profile, she has briefly worked in Russia for The Moscow Times – a vehemently anti-Putin newspaper allegedly backed by the CIA, exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Affairs and other entities through a Netherlands-based foundation operated by media entrepreneur Derk Sauer.
When further researching the BBC’s activities as an enforcement arm for unelected powers attempting to abolish free speech and journalistic freedoms, The Florida Standard discovered that the global open-source intelligence arm of the public broadcaster, BBC Monitoring, includes a “Disinformation Team.”
According to their own mission statement, BBC Monitoring “tracks, translates, analyses and summarises global media to help you make sense of world events.” The division’s clients include the British government and Oxford Analytica, among others.
The Disinformation Team was created and is led by Rebecca Skippage, who is a fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at University of Oxford. Moreover, Skippage is an Editor with the BBC-wide Anti-Disinformation Unit, which “covers and uncovers global disinformation trends, verifies and debunks viral social media content, and creates digital material to help people spot and avoid 'fake news.'”
The BBC has not responded to The Florida Standard’s request for comments on the contents of this article.