The reality that Big Tech has been biased in censorship, throttling or censoring the spread of certain information to favor progressives has been widely understood for some time. Less apparent has been the government’s involvement in these practices and on Monday, journalist Lee Fang released his damning investigative findings on the “very cozy relationship.”
(Video: Fox News)
For many, the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story days before the 2020 presidential election was the first sign that social media was working directly to favor one political outcome. In writing for The Intercept, Fang revealed the leaked documents that showed the direct communication with federal agencies to shut down that story and others like it.
He posted a link to his report on Twitter and summarized, “Docs show Facebook and Twitter closely collaborating [with] Dept of Homeland Security, FBI to police ‘disinfo.’ Plans to expand censorship on topics like withdrawal from Afghanistan, origins of COVID, info that undermines trust in financial institutions.”
Docs show Facebook and Twitter closely collaborating w/ Dept of Homeland Security, FBI to police “disinfo.” Plans to expand censorship on topics like withdrawal from Afghanistan, origins of COVID, info that undermines trust in financial institutions. https://t.co/Zb3zmI1dQF
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) October 31, 2022
Monday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson invited Fang on his program to further explain and the journalist began, “We looked at…hundreds of documents that paint of vivid picture of the FBI, the DHS, closely collaborating with the top social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook, to censor various forms of content under the banner of fighting disinformation. And the story shows a couple of things.”
“One, it shows…a very cozy relationship between the government and these tech giants. There’s those monthly meetings…but also, just very cozy emails and texts. Not a very adversarial relationship,” he went on.
As his report stated, “Facebook and Twitter created special portals for the government to rapidly request takedowns of content. The portals, along with NGO partners used to censor a wide range of content, including obvious parody accounts and content disagreeing [with] [government] pandemic policy.”
While a spokesperson for Twitter had reported to The Intercept, “We do not coordinate with other entities when making content moderation decisions, and we independently evaluate content in line with the Twitter Rules,” Fang went on to report, “The emails and documents show close collaboration [between] DHS & private sector. Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (fired by [Elon Musk] last week) met monthly with DHS to discuss censorship plans. Microsoft exec texted DHS: ‘Platforms have got to get comfortable with [government].'”
The emails and documents show close collaboration b/w DHS & private sector. Twitter's Vijaya Gadde (fired by @elonmusk last week) met monthly with DHS to discuss censorship plans. Microsoft exec texted DHS: "Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov't" pic.twitter.com/Z19yLM3miB
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) October 31, 2022
“They’re closely collaborating on reports talking about the expanded role for DHS in censoring a really broad collection of topic areas, of policy and political topics…the story also just looks at the mission creep of DHS,” he told Carlson. “This is an agency that was founded in the aftermath of 9/11 to combat foreign terror threats of Al-Qaeda and the like, but over the last five years it’s kind of evolved in its mission.”
“It’s moved toward fighting disinfo and their justification is, you know, disinformation radicalizes the homeland, it could lead to disruptions in public health or political violence. So they have a justification, we have these documents and they’re pushing forward with this broad censorship agenda,” Fang went on.
The journalist credited the attempt by DHS to create a “Disinformation Governance Board,” quickly dubbed the “Ministry of Truth,” with drawing these connections into the light as the backlash inspired legal challenges such as the lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt that made certain records available.
For example, Fang included an excerpt from a legal document that read, “Pursuant to the third-party subpoena, Meta,” the parent company of Facebook, “has identified the FBI’s FITF, as supervised by Laura Dehmlow, and Elvis Chan is involved in the communications between the FBI and Meta that led to Facebook’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.”
He tweeted, “FBI agent Laura Dehmlow was in communications [with] Facebook that led to the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020 over the false allegation that it was ‘disinfo.’ This year, she met [with] Twitter/DHS to stress ‘we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.'”
FBI agent Laura Dehmlow was in communications w Facebook that led to the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020 over the false allegation that it was “disinfo.” This year, she met w/ Twitter/DHS to stress “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” pic.twitter.com/17LqhEyMN0
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) October 31, 2022
Furthermore, much like the means by which dark money has been funneled through organizations to anonymize the considerable contributions to certain activist groups, Fang also documented, “DHS official working on disinfo noted, during an internal strategy discussion, that the agency should use third party nonprofits as a ‘clearing house for information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.'”
DHS official working on disinfo noted, during an internal strategy discussion, that the agency should use third party nonprofits as a “clearing house for information to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.” pic.twitter.com/BfOMxxXNDs
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) November 1, 2022
Grateful reactions to the journalist’s work spread across social media, with many noting how the report was precisely why progressives were opposed to Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, and Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) specifically used it as a call to action.
This abuse must be stopped. Investigations on this unprecedented abuse of Americans’ speech & privacy are coming in the Senate. Biden officials: preserve all your documents & prepare to testify
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 31, 2022
This is the same reason no national Dem politicians or NBC/CNN/MSNBC hosts have trumpeted Lee and Ken's stories: only Fox hosts and GOP politicians:
CIA and FBI are revered in left-liberal politics, as is censorship, so this story doesn't bother them.https://t.co/o9nK1JYJEu
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 1, 2022
WOAH. Thank you for reporting this.
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) October 31, 2022
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) October 31, 2022
Excellent journalism here. Thank you, sir!
— Tyler Carditis (@TyCardon) October 31, 2022
Hey @elonmusk You really might want to take a look at this information being compiled here.
— Brandon (@deathnoteb) October 31, 2022
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