The White House and other federal agencies regularly communicated with social media companies such as Facebook about content moderation and censorship decisions, according to newly released documents.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, both Republicans, filed a request on Wednesday seeking communications between federal agencies and social media firms such as Meta, Twitter, and Youtube.
The filing, which is part of a larger lawsuit against President Joe Biden regarding the administration’s role in censoring COVID-19 misinformation, revealed that officials at the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regularly communicated with social media platforms about their content moderation decisions, according to documents gained via discovery.
🚨 According to newly released emails obtained by state AGs, Facebook & the Biden admin arranged weekly/monthly calls to discuss what to censor on the platform.https://t.co/m8UKZEBby9 pic.twitter.com/u2RRDwcwAU
— Vince Coglianese (@VinceCoglianese) September 1, 2022
“We have already received a number of documents that clearly prove that the federal government has an incestuous relationship with social media companies and clearly coordinate to censor freedom of speech, but we’re not done,” said Schmitt in a press statement.
“The Department of Justice is cowering behind executive privilege and has refused to turn over communications between the highest-ranking Biden Administration officials and social media companies.”
The Justice Department identified at least 45 federal officials at the Department of Homeland Security, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the CDC, and the Office of the Surgeon General regularly communicating with social media platforms about misinformation, according to documents released by the attorneys general.
Several of these communications centered on informing federal agencies about the content moderation policies that the companies had adopted. There were also instances in which Meta waited to moderate particular statements related to COVID-19 until it had a confirmation from the CDC.
The CDC also agreed to host monthly “misinfo/debunking meetings” with Meta employees in which experts would be brought on to “chat casually” about various controversial topics. The White House also asked Meta to take down at least one account impersonating Dr. Anthony Fauci.
While Facebook regularly communicated about its misinformation efforts with the White House, the company regularly hid details about how pertinent anti-vaccine messaging was on certain parts of the platform.
The platform has had a tumultuous relationship with the Biden administration due to White House press secretary Jen Psaki slamming the platform for its role as a conduit for COVID-19 misinformation.
Not to be pedantic, but allow us to clarify: Multiple Biden officials across many different agencies were in active communication with Big Tech executives in an effort to control the flow of COVID-19 information during a global pandemic.
How is this not the biggest story of the decade?
Author: Sebastian Hayworth