Well, that sounds familiar! In an interview in the Telegraph, Molly Kingsley, co-founder of UsForThem, tells Camilla Tominey she was branded an ‘anti-vaxxer’ for wanting to keep schools open during the lockdown, but has since been vindicated.
For lockdown sceptic Molly Kingsley, the discovery that she was spied on by the Government in an attempt to curtail discussion of its controversial coronavirus policies has been nothing short of horrifying.
The mother of two, 44, was disgusted to find out articles she had written for The Telegraph cautioning against school closures, the wearing of face masks in classrooms and the vaccination of children had been flagged by the Counter-Disinformation Unit (CDU), set up by ministers to tackle supposed domestic “threats”.
Yet having endured three years of hatred and abuse for standing up for parents and children during the pandemic, she wasn’t surprised to read Saturday’s Daily Telegraph’s expose, revealing that as well as covertly monitoring lockdown critics with artificial intelligence, social media firms may have used technology to stop certain posts being promoted, circulated or widely shared after being pinpointed by the CDU or its counterpart in the Cabinet Office.
Some posts were even removed from social media altogether following meetings of the Counter-Disinformation Policy Forum, which brought together civil servants from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and technology giants – including Facebook and Google – as well as the BBC to discuss how to limit the spread of what was considered COVID-19 disinformation.
MPs and freedom of speech campaigners have condemned the “truly chilling” disclosures as “a tool for censoring British citizens” akin to those of the Chinese Communist Party.
But for the Cambridge-based former lawyer turned campaigner, the spying has had such a profound effect that she is now considering legal action against the Government in a bid to prompt Covid disclosures even bigger than Boris Johnson’s WhatsApp messages.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” insists Ms Kingsley. “We need absolute clarity on which ministers and officials knew and authorised this, exactly which agencies were involved, and on what scale.
“Most importantly, we need to know the true impact. Did the collaboration between the Government and social media companies amount to actual censorship? And if so, how on earth was this allowed to happen in a supposedly liberal democracy? If the only way to force disclosure is through litigation then absolutely I would consider that, to get the answers the public deserves.
“I am very open to spending the rest of my life making the Government and all those involved in the decision-making around the pandemic more accountable to the people they serve. I don’t believe this is a political framework that should be inherited by our children. Until we correct the failings of this period then we will be stuck in this doom loop of bad decision-making.”
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: As an addendum to the above story, Molly Kingsley has called on Elon Musk to disclose what Twitter knew about the Government’s attempts to censor her and other lockdown sceptics.