Biden & Federal Officials Pressure Social Media to Suppress Disfavored Speech

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Washington, DC – -(AmmoLand.com)- “Tech platforms are notoriously opaque,” the White House complained last week, saying Americans deserve to know more about how online forums decide “when and how to remove content from their sites.”

Yet the Biden administration, which routinely pressures social media companies to suppress speech it does not like, is hardly a model of transparency in this area.

In a lawsuit they filed last May, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt argue that the administration’s “Orwellian” crusade against “misinformation” violates the First Amendment.

They are trying to find out more about this “vast ‘Censorship Enterprise’ across a multitude of federal agencies,” and the administration is fighting them every step of the way.

So far, Landry and Schmitt have identified 45 federal officials who “communicate with social media platforms” about curtailing “misinformation.” Emails obtained during discovery show those platforms are desperate to comply with the government’s demands for speech restrictions, including the removal of specific messages and accounts.

On July 16, 2021, President Joe Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” by failing to suppress misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. That same day, a senior executive at the platform’s parent company emailed Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in an effort to assuage the president’s anger.

“Reaching out after what has transpired over the past few days following the publication of the misinformation advisory, and culminating today in the President’s remarks about us,” the Meta executive wrote. “I know our teams met today to better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.”

Murthy had just published an advisory in which he urged a “whole-of-society” effort, possibly including “legal and regulatory measures,” to combat the “urgent threat to public health” posed by “health misinformation.” Biden’s homicide charge came the next day, and Meta was keen to address the president’s concerns by cracking down on speech that offended him.

Shortly afterward, Landry and Schmitt report, the same executive sent Murthy a text message. “It’s not great to be accused of killing people,” he said, adding that he was “keen to find a way to deescalate and work together collaboratively.”

And so he did;

“Thanks again for taking the time to meet earlier today,” the Meta executive said in a July 23, 2021, email to the Department of Health and Human Services. “I wanted to make sure you saw the steps we took just this past week to adjust policies on what we are removing with respect to misinformation.”

The executive bragged that Meta had deleted objectionable pages, groups, and Instagram accounts, taken steps to make several pages and profiles “more difficult to find on our platform” [Shadowban], and “expanded the group of false claims that we remove.” Other messages show that Twitter was equally eager to fall in line.

Social media companies have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion. But that’s not what is really happening when their decisions are shaped by implicit or explicit threats from the government.

The White House mentioned a few of those threats last week: “antitrust legislation,” privacy regulation, and “fundamental reforms” to the law that shields platforms from liability for content posted by users. Given the broad powers that the federal government has to make life difficult for social media companies, the administration’s “asks” for stricter moderation are tantamount to commands.

Federal officials expect obsequious compliance, and that is what they get. This largely surreptitious exercise in censorship by proxy, practiced by an administration that preaches transparency while practicing opacity, is especially troubling because it targets not only demonstrably false claims but also speech that the government considers “misleading” or contrary to the prevailing “consensus.”

Whether the subject is the origins of COVID-19, the effectiveness of face masks, or the newsworthiness of Hunter Biden’s laptop, that consensus often proves to be wrong. Both publicly and behind the scenes, federal officials are subverting the free inquiry and open debate required to reveal those errors

Read Related: Facebook Suspending Gun Dealers Who Follow Their Rules


About Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @JacobSullum. During two decades in journalism, he has relentlessly skewered authoritarians of the left and the right, making the case for shrinking the realm of politics and expanding the realm of individual choice. Jacobs’ work appears here at AmmoLand News through a license with Creators Syndicate.

Jacob Sullum
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Ope

The first two planeloads of illegals from Florida have arrived at Martha’s Vineyard. Gov.Desantis has many more flights planned in the coming days. TX Gov.Abbott has several bus loads of illegals on their way to NYC too.

Wild Bill

I hope that this begins a movement.

Ope

Bill, me too.

swmft

not even a drop in the bucket , need a 100 car train full (and yes I mean cattle cars full)just to empty out parking lots at home depot and lowes of illegals, break ins of cars is crazy , a friend that left central america with papers had his 13 year old daughter raped by gang members from the same gang he fled from ten years ago

Wild Bill

Yep, foreign gangs are here! Drug carriers, disease carriers, criminals, perverts, and spies. Thank the Biden handlers.

Last edited 20 days ago by Wild Bill
Boom

… foreign gangs that can get merked…….

Arny

Yeah God forbid the plane would be heading back across the border. Nah let’s spread them out across the USA. This is helping the US how ? Don’t tell me they can’t do that either. They did it in the past decades. Sent illegals back to home of origin. These very same politicians in DC were either breaking the law then or now ? And I believe we all know the answer to that one.

Ope

Two bus loads of illegals from Texas just arrived outside Kamala Harris residence in DC,courtesy of TX Gov Greg Abbott. More on the way.

Arny

And do you think they will stay there ? Do you think they won’t be voting ? And guess who they will vote for ? As if voting matters. Looks like Dept of Transportation will have to raise their rates again. These illegals will need ID to vote. Assuming voting matters. LMAO

Idaho Bob

JFK once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable”.
This is where the left is pushing us. This is not by accident, it is not a mistake. It is a power play for complete control.
Be prepared, be vigilant and know God.

Montana454Casull

FU-Q Joe Biden I hope this offends your senial ass . Eat shit and bark at the moon you ignorant clown . Does that offend you asshole ? I certainly hope so braindead douchebag ! I hope the ATF melted down those braces and bump stocks and remolded them as 14 inch dildoes and somebody inserts one up your rectal port without lube . Have a great day Joe !

Montana454Casull

I hear Ben Dover has 14 inch a present for you .

Rock

It is illegal and NO ONE DOES SHIT !!!!! Same as with the “gun control”, open border and 90% of everything else the Dems are doing…
NO ONE IS DOING SHIT TO STOP IT !!!!!!!!!!

PMinFl

They (facebook/ twitter) were in front of a congressional committee yesterday and will still do whatever they want tomorrow. or whatever this administration tells them to do.

swmft

we are at a point where many in government need quiet time say in levenworth

Boz

Potters fieId.

Boom

That’s my partna Jeff Landry!!! That guy is great! (No homo).

loveaduck

In terms of the unconstitutional crusade, add the !st Amendment to the 2nd.

Ope

Gov. of Mass. calls in NG to assist in handling 50 illegal Mexicans flown to Martha’s Vineyard yesterday by Florida Governor Desantis. Desantis has more flights planned soon.