An investigative report published on Monday revealed a massive amount of collusion between Big Tech social media platforms and the Biden administration to shut down the flow of information deemed ‘improper.’
The effort to censor so-called “disinformation” involved discussions between the social media giants and officials with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security as recently as August, according to documents reviewed by The Intercept correspondents Ken Klippenstein and Lee Fang.
DHS “is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found. Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms,” the report began.
“The work, much of which remains unknown to the American public, came into clearer view earlier this year when DHS announced a new “Disinformation Governance Board”: a panel designed to police misinformation (false information spread unintentionally), disinformation (false information spread intentionally), and malinformation (factual information shared, typically out of context, with harmful intent) that allegedly threatens U.S. interests,” the report continued.
“While the board was widely ridiculed, immediately scaled back, and then shut down within a few months, other initiatives are underway as DHS pivots to monitoring social media now that its original mandate — the war on terror — has been wound down,” the report added, noting that behind the scenes, the federal government has put a great deal of pressure on social media platforms to stifle online discussion and discourse.
“Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February.
Much of the focus, according to The Intercept, has been on the federal government’s efforts to clamp down on ‘Russian disinformation,’ but these efforts have clearly gone too far and appear to have a political bias. The New York Post’s pre-2020 election revelations about Hunter Biden’s allegedly corrupt business deals and other illegalities that seemed to loop in his father, then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, were censored by the big tech platforms (and many intelligence officials) as “Russian disinformation” though it clearly was not.
“We looked at really hundreds of documents that paint a vivid picture of the [Federal Bureau of Investigation], the [Department of Homeland Security] closely collaborating with the top social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook, to censor various forms of content under the banner of fighting disinformation,” Fang told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Monday night following the publication of the report.
Leaked Documents Show Facebook And Twitter Worked Closely With The FBI And DHS To Police "Disinformation" @lhfang Joins Tucker Carlson Tonight To Discuss This Bombshell Report
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) November 1, 2022
The Daily Wire added:
Fang said the story shows a “very cozy” relationship between the government alphabet agencies like the FBI and DHS and tech giants, where they held monthly meetings — as recently as August — and exchanged emails and texts to shape online discourse.
One of those cozy relationships highlighted in the report shows a text from earlier this year between former DHS official and current Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, and Jen Easterly, a DHS director saying “the government needs to get the private sector, needs to get more comfortable with the government,” according to Fang.
The report also said that before the 2020 election, tech companies, including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Verizon Media, met monthly with the FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and other government representatives.
There is pushback on the government’s efforts to censor Americans through social media. Earlier this year, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is also the Republican nominee to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R), filed suit to expose how Biden administration officials are colluding with the big tech platforms to unconstitutionally silence users.
Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law school professor who has written about the suit, said, according to The Intercept, “there is growing evidence that the legislative and executive branch officials are using social media companies to engage in censorship by surrogate.”
“It is axiomatic that the government cannot do indirectly what it is prohibited from doing directly. If government officials are directing or facilitating such censorship, it raises serious First Amendment questions,” Turley added.