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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Sensitive Event

 

Yesterday, Google notified many users of newly-formed action entitled “Update to Inappropriate content policy (February 2024).” Because the role I play in Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) involves disputation of irrational beliefs, I thought I’d take a crack at challenging some of the assumptions presumably inferred from the new policy.

 

A major change to existing policy relates to what Google now terms a “Sensitive Event.” As per the new policy:

 

A “Sensitive Event” is an unforeseen event or development that creates significant risk to Google’s ability to provide high quality, relevant information and ground truth, and reduce insensitive or exploitative content in prominent and monetized features. During a Sensitive Event, we may take a variety of actions to address these risks.

 

Who is given authority to describe “relevant information”? Likewise, under which authority has Google been bestowed the honor of determining “truth”?

 

Was it considered relevant and truthful for Google to have suppressed critiques of responses to COVID-19 during the pandemic? According to one 2022 source:

 

Some governments and tech corporations, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn, have taken measures to censor contrary viewpoints, arguing that views challenging government policies are dangerous misinformation, and therefore censorship is justified to protect public health.

 

For instance, was Google acting in the best interests of the world when promoting mis-, dis-, or malinformation disseminated by the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer? Regarding this matter, in a blogpost entitled Repost: Revisiting Protective Measures, I stated:

 

The science is subject to hubris, as our betters of society boldly declare, “The science is settled — the best way to slow the spread is to double down on wearing masks, social distancing, and limiting indoor gatherings where people are most at risk to contract COVID-19.

 

I originally posted that blog entry on March 20, 2020. However, given suppression of contrary viewpoints by entities such as Google, I removed it and then reposted it two years later—when COVID-19 countervailing opinions were presumed to be less controversial.

 

How is it helpful for Google to take measures toward interrupting the function of scientific inquiry? If during a Sensitive Event, Google may take actions to address the risks of contentious opinions, does this mean the organization will assume liability if its actions actually caused harm?

 

Google’s new policy continues:

 

Examples of Sensitive Events include events with significant social, cultural, or political impact, such as civil emergencies, natural disasters, public health emergencies, terrorism and related activities, conflict, or mass acts of violence.

 

Does this include “public health emergencies,” such as COVID-19? Has Google learned nothing over the past several years, other than to grasp for more power and wield it mercilessly as a means of oppressing people through the trampling of free expression?

 

Not everyone is as fortunate as I was during the days of lockdownerism. Thankfully, I have a boss who didn’t suppress my rights to free speech. Because I’m ruled by only myself, I was able to state in a post entitled The Village:

 

COVID-19 very well may have represented a concern for some people. However, I posit that the reaction to COVID-19—action perpetrated by local, state, federal, and international elites in addition to folklore about the virus—was overblown.

 

I criticized nonsensical COVID-19 reactionary measures, such as standing six feet apart from other individuals. Under Google’s new policy, would I still be able to do so? Contrarily, would I be deemed an agent of disinformation for not supporting the pseudo-science of people like Anthony Fauci?

 

Take for a moment to consider that in a blogpost entitled Controlling the Flow of Harm, I stated:

 

How is reducing an “organization’s risk” weighed in conjunction with what information the public needs to know? Up until figuratively five minutes ago, many organizational outlets were outright denying the “lab leak theory,” as a number of them continue to employ damage control methods.

 

Wasn’t it Google who suppressed challenges to social distancing and the lab leak hypothesis? Now, juxtaposing what the organization considered “relevant information and ground[ed in] truth,” consider what is understood today. According to one source:

 

In closed-door congressional testimony, former chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said that federal social distancing guidance during the pandemic was likely not based on any data, and conceded that the lab leak hypothesis of COVID-19’s origins isn’t a conspiracy theory.

 

Is Google willing to admit that it erred regarding the silencing of dissent to official COVID-19 narratives? If Google’s historic reaction to a Sensitive Event was so incredibly authoritarian—and it certainly was, what indication is there that the organization will behave differently in the future?

 

Google’s new policy concludes that it will not tolerate:

 

Claims that victims of a sensitive event were responsible for their own tragedy or similar instances of victim blaming; claims that victims of a sensitive event are not deserving of remedy or support; claims that victims from certain countries were responsible or deserving of a global public health crisis.

 

Does this measure apply to those of us who disputed absurd reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic? Is Google prepared to stop “victim blaming” skeptics of maskurbation, antisocial distancing, previously untested gene therapy masquerading as a vaccine, and other elements of the Wu-Flu?

 

Time will tell. Personally, I suspect that Google’s past actions are a reasonable indicator of the organization’s future behavior. If such is the case, I remain prepared to continue helping people dispute their irrational beliefs about such matters.

 

Use of REBT in my personal and professional life afforded me and others the opportunity not to disturb ourselves as the world collectively lost its ever-loving mind during the dark days of COVID-19.

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

Britschgi, C. (2024, January 10). Fauci to Congress: 6-foot social distancing guidance likely not based on data. Reason. Retrieved from https://reason.com/2024/01/10/fauci-to-congress-6-foot-social-distancing-guidance-likely-not-based-on-data/

Dellatto, M. (2023, February 26). Timeline: How the Covid lab leak origin story went from ‘conspiracy theory’ to government debate. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/marisadellatto/2023/02/26/timeline-how-the-covid-lab-leak-origin-story-went-from-conspiracy-theory-to-government-debate/?sh=1a1ff34237b9

Google. (n.d.). Update to Inappropriate content policy (February 2024). Retrieved from https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/14153911

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2023, March 12). Controlling the flow of harm. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/controlling-the-flow-of-harm

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2022, November 8). Information overload. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/information-overload

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2022, August 24). Repost: Revisiting protective measures. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/repost-revisiting-protective-measures

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, November 2). The critical A. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-critical-a

Hollings, D. (2023, August 6). The science. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-science

Hollings, D. (2023, August 21). The village. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-village

Hollings, D. (2023, October 8). You can’t sit with us! Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/you-can-t-sit-with-us

Shir-Raz, Y., Elisha, E., Martin, B., Ronel, N., and Guetzkow, J. (2022, November). Censorship and suppression of Covid-19 heterodoxy: Tactics and counter-tactics. Springer Nature. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9628345/

Stolberg, S. G. and Mueller, B. (2023, March 8). Republicans push lab leak theory on Covid’s origins, but lack ‘smoking gun.’ The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/08/us/politics/covid-lab-leak-house-hearing.html

Whitmer, G. [@GoWhitmer]. (2020, December 7). The science is settled — the best way to slow the spread is to double down on wearing masks, social distancing, and limiting indoor gatherings where people are most at risk to contract COVID-19. X. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/govwhitmer/status/1336048269483503616?lang=en

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Anthony Fauci. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Fauci

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Gretchen Whitmer. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gretchen_Whitmer

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