As per documents made public on August 31, more than 50 government employees from a dozen agencies in President Biden’s administration put pressure on Big Tech businesses to take action against purported misinformation.
Working to push censorship
Senior U.S. government representatives (including White House counsel Dana Remus, deputy assistant to the president Rob Flaherty, and former senior COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt) communicated with one or more major social media networks.
They did this to convince them to tighten regulations on ostensibly incorrect, misleading information on COVID-19 and take action against users who break the rules, according to the documents.
In July 2021, after Biden claimed Facebook was “killing people” because it wasn’t effectively addressing misinformation, a Meta executive contacted Vivek Murthy, a Biden appointee, to let him know teams from the government and Meta met as a result of the remarks.
This was done “to better comprehend the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.”
social media censorship is the same as priests burning books during the dark ages
— ً (@thrice_greatest) September 2, 2022
In April 2021, Flaherty, the White House’s director of digital strategy, informed Slavitt and others that Twitter would brief White House staff “on vaccine misinformation.”
Another conversation that year involved the deputy treasury secretary wanting to discuss “possible influence operations,” according to a Department of Treasury employee working on “mis, dis, and mal-information.”
U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly, on the other hand, texted a different agency official in February 2021.
She said she was “trying to get us into a place where the Fed can operate with platforms to best understand the mis/disinformation trends so agencies involved can try to debunk it as useful.”
In a case filed against the government by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri, who were soon joined by experts disparaged by federal officials, the materials were part of initial production.
Jenin Younes, an attorney with the New Civil Liberties Alliance who is supporting some of the plaintiffs in the case, declared the federal government’s had an active role in social media censorship.
It has now been made clear to what appalling extent the government has been involved in using social media corporations to silence Americans.
Lawsuit documents reveal over 50 Biden administration employees, 12 US agencies involved in social media CENSORSHIP push…
This is fascism.
And guess who’s at the heart of it? Joe Biden and the Democratic Party.
— Ian Jaeger (@IanJaegerNPC) September 1, 2022
Government lawyers only named 45 individuals from five organizations: the Department of Homeland Security, CISA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Murthy’s office.
They interacted with social media platforms regarding false information, despite the fact documents they produced indicated others were also involved, including representatives from the Census Bureau, and the Departments of Treasury and State, among others, in their legal arguments.
Additional officials participating in the campaign were also identified by responses from the Big Tech corporations.
At least 32 federal officials, including top representatives from the White House and the Food and Drug Administration, admitted they spoke with Meta regarding content control.
Twitter identified nine officials, including senior State Department officials, while YouTube revealed 11 that the government had not released.
Content Control: Is this the end of free speech?
Furthermore, the FBI went unnamed, despite the agency’s recent admission that it often communicates with social media businesses.
The plaintiffs informed the judge presiding over the case that additional discovery was required to fully understand the scope of the government crackdown.