A 103-page staff interim report by the House Judiciary Committee includes internal communications such as emails showing how a “disinformation” group known as the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) worked together with the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to remove and/or limit the reach of some types of online speech in conjunction with Big Tech firms.
The report explained how the government used this group to get away with censoring dissenting views: “Created in the summer of 2020 ‘at the request’ of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the EIP provided a way for the federal government to launder its censorship activities in hopes of bypassing both the First Amendment and public scrutiny.”
Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) posted on X that the communications demonstrated how "the federal government and universities pressured social media companies to censor true information, jokes and political opinions."
EIP analysts would search social media sites for “undesirable content.” If a report flagged a post on Facebook, analysts would then search for similar content on other sites such as Reddit, TikTok, YouTube and Twitter. They would then compile the offending links and send them to Big Tech, along with their “recommendations” on how the posts should be censored. Some tactics included suspending the account temporarily, monitoring retweets, removing posts and reducing their discoverability.
The report said: "This pressure was largely directed in a way that benefited one side of the political aisle: true information posted by Republicans and conservatives was labeled as 'misinformation' while false information posted by Democrats and liberals was largely unreported and untouched by the censors."
Although many of those who were censored by these efforts were Americans engaging in normal conversations online, several conservative and right-leaning politicians, commentators and media outlets were also targeted.
Some of the politicians who had their social media posts deemed “misinformation” by the group include then-President Donald Trump, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), and former politicians such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
When it comes to media, the conservative news outlet Newsmax and conservative satire site The Babylon Bee were censored, along with Fox News host Sean Hannity. The Federalist editors Mollie Hemingway and Sean Davis were also targeted.
Many have suspected this type of censorship was taking place over the years, but evidence has been growing in recent years exposing how right-leaning voices are suppressed online.
For example, when Elon Musk purchased Twitter, which he has since rebranded as X, he shared internal documents with journalists that showed how the social media platform engaged in censorship before he took over. Known as the Twitter Files, they showed how the federal government exerted pressure to keep certain viewpoints from being shared.
Among other things, the files showed that the FBI interfered with the 2020 election during the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, which involved a laptop the president’s son abandoned containing emails, videos and text messages that proved Hunter and Joe were involved in corrupt business dealings. Twitter reportedly censored the story as part of its “hacked materials” policy, despite not having any proof it was hacked. It turns out the FBI issued a warning to Twitter and other platforms that the story was considered a “threat.”
In 2021, then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted the Biden administration has been “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation”, while Biden accused the platform of “killing people” by not censoring enough “misinformation” about COVID-19.
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