Anthony Fauci: ‘Not My Lane’ to Say If People Should Be ‘Allowed’ to Voice ‘Dangerous’ Opinions on Social Media

Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, testifies during the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine stopping the spread of monkeypox, focusing on the Federal response, in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022. (Cliff Owen/AP)
Cliff Owen/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci said it is not in his lane to say whether or not individuals should be “allowed” to voice opinions on social media that he believes could harm the public, claiming not to “know what the legal or other First Amendment issues are associated with that.”

Fauci, during his November 23 deposition as part of the lawsuit lodged by Missouri and Louisiana over the Biden administration and federal officials allegedly colluding with social media companies to censor speech throughout the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, was pressed on his opinion of social media censorship. At one point, he was presented with the following question: “Do you have an opinion about whether people should be allowed to post on social media opinions that you think, for example, are dangerous and might lead to loss of life? What’s your view on that?”

Fauci did not offer a golden stamp of approval, championing free speech. Rather, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) head, as he did throughout much of the Q&A, appealed to ignorance.

“You know, again, you say allowed, I don’t know what the legal or other First Amendment issues are associated with that. That’s not my lane or my area of expertise,” Fauci began, claiming to be “sensitive” to the fact that what he deems to be “disinformation” could be “dangerous to health.”

“As a physician and a scientist and a public health person, I’m very sensitive to the fact that disinformation, including some of the disinformation that we discussed that, for example, has people avoid lifesaving interventions, is dangerous to health,” Fauci said, suggesting that one can combat disinformation by flooding the system with what he and public officials determine to be “correct information” rather than “interfering with other people’s ability to say what they want to say” –the latter of which Twitter, pre-Elon Musk, was well acquainted with. In October, for example, Twitter temporarily censored Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo after he released Florida’s updated guidance advising against coronavirus mRNA injections for males under the age of 40, citing an 84 percent increase in “the relative incidence of cardiac-related death among males 18-39 years old within 28 days following mRNA vaccination.”

Fauci, whose daughter, coincidentally, worked as a software engineer at Twitter, then claimed that he has supported flooding the system with “correct information.”

When pressed further on whether he believes social media platforms bear a “responsibility to take down dangerous misinformation that gets posted on their platforms,” Fauci appealed to ignorance yet again, stating, “I’m not an expert in the legal and other aspects of that to make an informed comment.”

“I would leave that to experts. I told you I’m not someone fluent in the ins and outs of what could or should be on social media, so I don’t really have any comment on that, because that’s not an area that I’ve seriously thought about and analyzed about the pros and cons of that,” Fauci said, admitting in the same deposition that he had chats with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

Notably, Fauci said he could not recall 174 times throughout his deposition.

Read the full deposition here.

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