The FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have been colluding with Big Tech platforms to censor “disinformation,” newly leaked documents have revealed.
Starting in 2020, DHS and the FBI started frequently meeting with Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and others to coordinate “content moderation” efforts on their platforms.
While the efforts of Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration became evident from the launch of the ill-fated Disinformation Governance Board early in 2022, the new leaks reveal the censorship agenda started far earlier.
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit that unsealed appended meeting minutes from former Microsoft executive Matt Masterson.
Masterson was formerly an official with DHS.
According to the minutes, Masterson told a DHS director in February 2022 that “Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t.
“It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain.”
Prior to 2020, it was reported that DHS met with Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and other platforms in order to coordinate “content moderation” operations, according to The Intercept.
These meetings were part of an ongoing initiative that saw collusion and collaboration between DHS and big tech to determine how “misinformation” would be dealt with on those platforms.
According to The Post Millennial, areas that came under this purview included the withdrawal from Afghanistan, undertaken disastrously by President Biden in August 2021 as well as the origins of the COVID-19 virus, which became controversial enough that users were kicked off social media platforms for expressing the hypothesis that the virus originated in a Wuhan, China lab.
However, a Senate report found last week that this was the most likely scenario.
Information that could undermine trust in financial institutions was also targeted.
The FBI’s efforts to pressure Big Tech to “fight disinformation” became evident in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.
Both Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey spoke about their platform’s effort to suppress and censor reporting from the New York Post.
They did this, in part, because the FBI had told these platforms to watch out for a “misinformation” dump.
During the election, there were “weekly teleconferences to coordinate Intelligence Community activities to counter election-related disinformation.”
Since the 2020 election, meetings have taken place every two weeks.
The Biden administration had its fingers all over social media companies.
Under Biden, the DHS would tell social media companies what they wanted to be blocked on the platforms by issuing “takedown requests.”
The Big Tech platforms would submit reports to the Biden admin.
They would be “called on to ‘process reports and provide timely responses, to include the removal of reported misinformation from the platform where possible.'”
This was specifically done with election information, which would be flagged by state election officials, and submitted to DHS, which would then tell social media companies to pull it.
In March, FBI official Laura Dehmlow raised the alarm by warning that Big Tech companies were not accountable to the government, saying “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
“There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use,” The Intercept reports.
“At the time of writing, the ‘content request system’ at facebook.com/xtakedowns/login is still live.
“DHS and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, did not respond to a request for comment. The FBI declined to comment.
“The extent to which the DHS initiatives affect Americans’ daily social feeds is unclear. During the 2020 election, the government flagged numerous posts as suspicious, many of which were then taken down, documents cited in the Missouri attorney general’s lawsuit disclosed.
“And a 2021 report by the Election Integrity Partnership at Stanford University found that of nearly 4,800 flagged items, technology platforms took action on 35 percent — either removing, labeling, or soft-blocking speech, meaning the users were only able to view content after bypassing a warning screen.
“The research was done ‘in consultation with CISA,’ the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” The Intercept notes.
When the Hunter Biden laptop story broke, revealing the Biden family’s influence peddling and shady overseas business dealings with Ukraine and China, social media platforms took the bait from the FBI and blocked the story.
Countless other mainstream media outlets followed suit, going so far as to report on why they would not cover the story, citing “hacking,” “misinformation,” and a “Russian plot.”
All of these were incorrect, and many outlets, including The New York Times, had to walk it back.
As a result of documents revealed in Schmitt’s suit, it is now apparent that DHS officials were in fact “leading the push to expand the government’s reach into disinformation,” and that the government “also played a quiet role in shaping the decisions of social media giants around the New York Post story.”
Post-election polling showed that many Americans would not have voted for Joe Biden had they known the Hunter Biden laptop story was fact and not a disinformation plot.
The case that revealed the information was brought this spring by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry against top administration officials in the US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.
The lawsuit alleges that President Joe Biden and other administration officials “pressured and colluded” with Big Tech companies to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story as well as information regarding the lab leak origin theory of COVID-19 and the security of voting by mail.
The suit claimed that government officials colluded with social media and big tech companies “under the guise of combating misinformation” and that the goal, and the result, was censorship and suppression of free speech online.
The lawsuit named White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Chief Medical Advisor and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, and the former director of the DHS’s now-defunct Disinformation Governance Board.
Also named were the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
The lawsuit alleges that the federal government had violated constitutional rights to suppress free speech in “one of its greatest assaults by federal government officials in the Nation’s history.”