The lawsuit was brought about by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, Eric Schmidt and Jeff Landry, along with the New Civil Liberties Alliance, against Biden. The suit was filed in May, and as part of the discovery process, the plaintiffs identified meetings with social media platforms related to “misinformation” or content modulation.
Their findings revealed that a Unified Strategies group meeting was held every month between a range of government agencies and Big Tech companies. At these meetings, topics that would be suppressed or censored were discussed.
Among the topics that they deemed worthy of censorship were, not surprisingly, stories about people refusing to get COVID vaccines and the repercussions that they faced for exercising their health freedom, particularly those that involved punishments given to members of the Armed Services for refusing to get jabbed.
They also censored posts in which people discussed testing positive for the virus after getting the vaccine as well as criticism against COVID restrictions and the way that they were affecting people’s mental health. Personal stories of the side effects people experienced after getting the vaccine, such as menstrual irregularities, and concerns about vaccine passports becoming mandatory were also targeted by censors.
New Civil Liberties Alliance notes: “Under the First Amendment, the federal government may not police private speech nor pick winners and losers in the marketplace of ideas. But that is precisely what the government has done — and is still doing — on a massive scale not previously divulged.
“Multiple agencies’ communications demonstrate that the federal government has exerted tremendous pressure on social-media companies — pressure to which companies have repeatedly bowed.”
More than 50 federal employees from 15 federal agencies involved
The group goes on to explain that official communications have shown the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency discussing the need to overcome hesitation among some social media companies to work with the government in censoring certain views. They added that this type of governmental interference is unlawful and violates Americans’ fundamental right of free speech. They called for more discovery to uncover just how extensive this activity has been.
Some of the documents that have been obtained as part of the lawsuit identify more than 50 federal employees in 15 federal agencies who have taken part in these censorship meetings or engaged in illegal censorship in some other way.
The list of those involved in this appalling behavior is lengthy and includes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Surgeon General, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s Election Security and Resilience team, and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Members of White House staff have also been implicated, such as the former White House senior COVID advisor Andy Slavitt, White House lawyer Dana Remus, and the president’s deputy assistant, Rob Flaherty.
Other emails show that outside consultants were brought in to manage the collusion between the government and social media in censoring Americans. For example, strategic marketing and communications firm Reingold was enlisted to set up a portal that CDC officials could use to flag content that it wanted social media platforms to censor.
Some of the Big Tech names who participated in these censorship meetings include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Wikimedia Foundation, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Pinterest and Reddit.
Some social media companies may have been initially hesitant, but others showed an eagerness to cooperate with the censorship. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was in regular contact with the State Department as far back as February 2020 offering to help “control information and misinformation related to Corona virus.”
Meanwhile, three Republican representatives on the House Oversight and Reform, Judiciary and Commerce committees have introduced legislation that would ban federal employees from using their roles to influence decisions on censorship made by tech platforms.
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