A disturbing new report claims the U.S. Department of Homeland Security worked directly with Twitter, Facebook, and others to censor “disinformation.”
The new report comes via leaked documents (via The Intercept), confirming “years” of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents that have all set up a substantial plot by the agency to directly pressure tech platforms to censor users and messages online.
The Biden Administration previously alluded to this with the DHS’s new “Disinformation Governance Board,” which rightly got widespread criticism and was shut down within a few months. That board’s goal was to combat misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation that all allegedly threaten U.S. interests and security.
However, in secret, the DHS has been working quietly since then directly with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms to directly censor users now that the entire reason they exist – the war on terror – is no longer happening.
Notes and records from a lawsuit filed by Missouri AG Eric Schmitt detail the scope of the DHS’s workings, ranging from government intervening in online discussions to actually setting up systems to directly censor specific users and/or messages.
Reportedly, the DHS is currently targeting “inaccurate information” on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, the efficacy of the COVID-19 “vaccines”, racial topics like Black Lives Matter and the 2020 BLM riots, and even the United States’ role in supporting the war in Ukraine.
A meeting back in March 2022 between an FBI official Laura Dehmlow and senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase (an international banking firm) confirms the FBI stressed unfettered information on social media could undermine support for the government itself.
“We need a media infrastructure that is held accountable,” Dehmlow said to the executives. A Twitter spokesperson responded to the claims saying they do not “coordinate with other entites when making content moderation decisions,” maintaining that they independently evaluate content.
Facebook, or rather Meta, also has a unique Facebook portal for government or law enforcement officials to log into, after which they can specifically request certain users and/or posts get censored. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment, and the FBI also declined to comment.
While the DHS was created solely to combat foreign terrorism, the agency has massively expanded to focus on the American heartland and American citizens. The DHS notes in the documents that terrorist threats can be “exacerbated by misinformation and disinformation spread online.”
This is not the first time social media platforms worked with the government to censor things they don’t like. Facebook / Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted they censored the story that Hunter Biden’s laptop contained a trove of documents.
The laptop notably had proof of foreign payola for access to his dad, Joe Biden. The docs also confirm Dehmlow was the FBI agent talking with Facebook prior to the platform blanket censoring the Biden laptop story.
Another new branch of the DHS, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), has been deeply involved in these efforts. Jen Easterly, Biden’s director of CISA, texted Microsoft rep Matthew Masterson (who also worked at CISA) that she wants to get the Fed in a place to “prebunk/debunk” misinformation and disinformation.
CISA has publicly defended its growing role in the government, noting any suggestions for censorship are mere suggestions – that platforms can still make decisions independently of their influence.
Former Twitter head of legal policy Vijaya Gadde also asked that CISA get deeply involved with social media companies. Her draft asked the Fed to stop the “spread of false and misleading information.”
Her propsal also had a focus on info that undermines “key democratic institutions, such as the courts, or by other sectors such as the financial system, or public health measures.”
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