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Facebook Fact Checker ‘Lead Stories’ Can’t Answer Why My Report on Masks Is “Missing Context”

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Do masks work in stopping the spread of viruses? Do they work to stop the spread of COVID? Are they harmful to human health during prolonged use? These are all key questions that have been asked since the start of this pandemic, however, getting clear answers has been tough. Then came a meta analysis on mask wearing that I wrote about at the end of April 2021. This large meta analysis was published in the journal Environmental Research and Public Health and is titled, “Is a Mask That Covers the Mouth and Nose Free from Undesirable Side Effects in Everyday Use and Free of Potential Hazards?”  It looked at 65 studies pertaining to prolonged mask wearing to examine whether or not there may be any health consequences. In short, the study found that masks can lead to “relevant effects and consequences in many medical fields,” and also clearly outlined why the effectiveness of masks to stop the transmission of COVID is highly questionable.

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Not long after we published our balanced reporting on the study, it was subjected to a “fact check” via third party Facebook fact-checker Lead Stories. When I clicked on the notification sent through our Facebook Page (Collective Evolution), it took me straight to an article published by Lead Stories claiming masks are effective at stopping the spread of COVID. They claimed that my article was “missing context” and were essentially saying the scientists who published the large meta analysis I reported on were wrong, and that they (Lead Stories) were right.

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Lead Stories’ article and headline irrefutably claiming ‘masks work.’

Meanwhile, the Lead Storied fact check article did not address any of the points I made in my article, nor did they reference it. It felt clear to me that the people at Lead Stories didn’t even read my article, although I can’t know that for sure. My article contained science suggesting masks are not effective, as did the meta analysis, but it also contained a discussion around the science showing that masks may actually be effective in stopping the spread of COVID. It was a well balanced piece, and as a result it was clearly, inarguably, not “missing context” at all. It seems any article or scientific publications that even suggests may be dangerous as well as ineffective is just not allowed to be shared without consequences. This is censorship at its finest.

Furthermore, the bulk of my article, as well as the meta analysis, focused primarily on the health consequences that can occur from extended periods of mask wearing. The Lead Stories article that Facebook was leading our readers to instead of mine didn’t even touch upon that topic at all. This made me wonder, how on earth could a fairly recent, large meta-analysis published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal be considered to be “missing context”? And who exactly at Lead Stories is responsible? How could such a punishment and label be handed down on an article that wasn’t even read? Keep in mind, when a Facebook page receives some sort of ‘fact check’ multiple things happen: the brand’s content reach can be cut, and thus their revenue is cut. The brand has the notion of ‘false information’ associated with its name, defaming and hurting the credibility of the brand. And of course, Facebook users don’t see the content the brand posted as easily, and instead are pressured towards reading the ‘fact check’.

I decided to contact Lead Stories to find out what happened. The contact information on their website provides information for a man named Alan, and another named Maarten. I sent an email to them explaining my concerns, suggesting it felt quite obvious that they did not even read my article before labelling it “missing context”. Perhaps the title and what it implied set them off? But there was nothing misleading about it, I was simply reporting on the study. “Large Meta Analysis: Mask Wearing May Lead To Health “Consequences In Many Medical Fields.”

In an email to Alan I wrote on April 29th, 2021,

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Although the article is more so about the physiological and psychological changes that can occur as a result of mask wearing according to the meta-analysis cited, we do not believe our article was read by you. The article clearly outlines many studies that show masks can protect against the spread of coronavirus…So we are quite confused.

Furthermore, this article wasn’t posted on Facebook yet our reach/distribution etc. seem to have been severely punished, and we got the notification via our Facebook Page. I’m not sure if you have put any restrictions on our page as a result?

Please let me know if this is sufficient enough to remote the rating.

Kind regards,

-Arjun

He replied,

This was flagged with a Missing Context label. There is NO punishment imposed by Facebook for that rating.

We are not directly involved in that aspect, but we are assured by Facebook it is only the label.

I have my staff reviewing the merits of the appeal and we will reply soon.

I’m not sure I agree that “NO punishment is imposed by Facebook.” Our business metrics stem greatly off of data, we watch data everyday. It’s always strikingly clear when a Facebook ‘fact check’ has dramatically reduced our traffic. Perhaps Facebook is not being forthcoming about its censorship of pages?

It took over a month and multiple requests to Lead Stories to finally hear back from Alan. And when we did he said:

“Your article is missing context, which is what we rated it. Let us know when you have added the context.”

Once again, Alan has made it clear he has not read the article, nor can explain what the problem with our piece is. As journalists who work incredibly hard, Facebook fact checking has become a joke where ‘fact checkers’ do not respect the hard work of journalists and have the power to hold their stories hostage with little respect given to properly stand by their strong handed claims.

The “missing context” label has yet to be removed, and thus we are unable to post this article on our Facebook Page, because if we do that message will come up for our readers – further harming out brand and potentially adding more ‘instances’ where we ‘repeatedly publish false information’ which is something Facebook has said can lead to permanent page deletion.

Alan has failed to explain how this article is missing context.

I stand by my feeling that there is nothing that Alan and his team can say about this article to claim it is missing context. I still assume they didn’t even read my article before putting a rating on it, and I am still awaiting an appropriate reply Why won’t they simply remove the rating, email me back, and apologize? You can find his contact information at the bottom of this page if you’d like to ask him the same question.

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Attention Readers: We’ve Moved Our Journalism To The Pulse

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CE Staff Writer 1 minute read

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

A large portion of our journalism that you’re used to seeing on our Collective Evolution platform has now moved over to The Pulse. We will be publishing most of our news articles there, while Collective Evolution focuses more on personal development.

You can follow The Pulse on Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  

We’ve done this for a number of reasons, mainly due to the struggles we’ve had with regards to extreme censorship at Collective Evolution. We hope you join us over at The Pulse in our quest to keep doing what we do!

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Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

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Abductions & Car Vandalism – Startling Australian UFO Report Unclassified

Gautam Peddada

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

An uncovered Australian report performed by their Department of Defence. “Scientific Intelligence — General — Unidentified Flying Objects” is trending again. Those who have done extensive research on UFOs will find the Australian version of disclosure to be far more intellectually honest than the American version. Albeit it was conducted decades ago.

According to ex-US intelligence official Luis Elizondo, the Defense Department’s Inspector General is presently conducting three reviews. The inquiries vary from the Department of Defense’s handling of UFO claims to Elizondo’s alleged whistleblower retribution. The open IG cases are crucial to Australia’s report because they establish beyond a shadow of a doubt that the US Department of Defense is being dishonest and shady when it comes to the UFO subject. For decades, Australia has been a loyal friend of the United States. Within Australia’s boundaries, they share a military installation (Pine Gap). When a close defense ally’s intelligence agencies determined that the US was not being intellectually honest in its approach, perhaps it is reasonable to conclude that there is more to the tale than the 144 incidents studied since 2004 by the UAPTF.

The CIA became alarmed at the overloading of military communications during the mass sightings of 1952 and considered the possibility that the USSR may take advantage of such a situation.

Australian UFO study.

According to the summary, OSI, acting through the Robertson-Panel, encouraged the USAF to use Project Blue Book to publicly “debunk” UFOs. In a tragic twist of fate, when Australian authorities sought explanations from the US Air Force, the allegation was debunked. The authors of the study were depicted as conspiratorial and even crazy by the US Air Force. Ross Coulthart reported this, and it may be heard in a recent Project Unity interview. Courthart is an award-winning investigative journalist who is drawn to forbidden subjects. He also stated on the same podcast that a senior US Navy official identified as Nat Kobitz told him that the US had been in the midst of reverse-engineering numerous non-human craft. According to his obituary, Mr. Kobitz was a former Director of Research and Development at Naval Sea Systems Command.

Continue reading the entire article at The Pulse. 

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PGA Tour To End COVID Testing For Both Vaccinated & Non-Vaccinated Players

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CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The PGA Tour has announced that it will stop testing players every week, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not.

  • Reflect On:

    Are PCR tests appropriate to identify infectious people? Should people who are healthy and not sick be tested at all, anywhere?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The picture you see above is of John Rahm, a professional golfer on the PGA tour being carted off the golf course after tournament officials told him he had COVID. He was healthy and had no symptoms, yet was forced to withdraw from the tournament. He was told in front of the camera’s, and a big scene was made out of the event. You would think something like that, especially when you are a big time sports figure, would be done behind closed doors with some privacy.

Earlier on in June a spokesperson for the PGA Tour said that more than 50 percent of players on the PGA tour have been vaccinated. Although it seems that the majority of players on the tour will be fully vaccinated judging by this statement, it does leave a fairly large minority who won’t be, and that’s something we’re seeing across the globe as COVID vaccine hesitancy remains high for multiple reasons.

We are pleased to announce, after consultation with PGA Tour medical advisors, that due to the high rate of vaccination among all constituents on the PGA Tour, as well as other positively trending factors across the country, testing for COVID-19 will no longer be required as a condition of competition beginning with the 3M Open. – PGA tour Senior VP Tyler Dennis

The tour recently announced that the testing of players every week will stop starting in July for both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. This was an unexpected announcement given the fact that, at least it seems in some countries, vaccinated individuals will enjoy previous rights and freedoms that everyone did before the pandemic. Travelling without need to quarantine and possibly in the future not having to be tested could be a few of those privileges. Others may include attending concerts, sporting events, or perhaps even keeping their job depending on whether or not their employer deems it to be mandatory, if that’s even legally possible. We will see what happens.

Luckily for professional golfers, regardless of their vaccination status they won’t have to worry about testing positive for COVID, especially if they’re not sick. This is the appropriate move by the PGA tour, who is represented by their players and it’s a move that the players themselves may have had a say in. It’s important because PCR tests are not designed nor are they appropriate for identifying infectious people. A number of scientists have been emphasizing this since the beginning of the pandemic. More recently, a letter to the editor published in the Journal of infection explain why more than half of al “positive” PCR tests are likely to have been people who are not infectious, otherwise known as “false positives.”

This is why the Swedish Public Health agency has a notice on their website explaining how and why polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are not useful for determining if someone is infected with COVID or if someone can transmit it to others, and it’s better to use someone who is actually showing symptoms as a judgement call of whether or not they could be infected or free from infection.

PCR tests using a high cycle threshold are extremely sensitive. An article published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases found that among positive PCR samples with a cycle count over 35, only 3 percent of the samples showed viral replication. This can be interpreted as, if someone tests positive via PCR when a Ct of 35 or higher is used, the probability that said person is actually infected is less than 3%, and the probability that said result is a false positive is 97 percent. This begs the question, why has Manitoba, Canada, for example, using cycle thresholds of up to 45 to identify “positive” people?

When it comes to golf, the fact that spread occurring in an outdoor setting is highly unlikely could have been a factor, but it’s also important to mention that asymptomatic spread within one’s own household is also considerably rare. It really makes you wonder what’s going on here, doesn’t it?

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Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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