Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration has launched a new “task force” that seeks to tackle “disinformation” online.
On Thursday, the Biden admin created the new Harris-led Internet policy “task force” with goals including “developing programs and policies” to protect “political figures” and journalists from “disinformation,” “abuse” and “harassment.”
It lists “gendered disinformation” as one example of the types of “abuse” the “task force” with be tackling.
The action follows the Department of Homeland Security’s disastrous April rollout of its Disinformation Governance Board.
The first attempt at an anti-free speech board was paused after outrage over the perceived step toward government-led internet censorship.
A presidential memorandum establishing the new task force describes a sweeping mission to protect people who seek out a role in public life from online critics.
“In the United States and around the world, women and LGBTQI+ political leaders, public figures, activists, and journalists are especially targeted by sexualized forms of online harassment and abuse, undermining their ability to exercise their human rights and participate in democracy, governance, and civic life,” the memo says.
“Online abuse and harassment, which aim to preclude women from political decision-making about their own lives and communities, undermine the functioning of democracy.”
The new task force’s members include other Biden heavy hitters, such as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The panel held its first meeting Thursday afternoon.
Harris did not specifically use the term “disinformation” in her opening remarks, but declared, “all people deserve to use the Internet free from fear.”
However, many have noted that several of the task force’s objectives revealed during the press briefing appeared to be very similar to those of the recently-scrapped Disinformation Governance Board.
Wow – the Kamala Harris Online Policy Task Force sounds SUSPICIOUSLY like the DHS disinformation board..
— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) June 16, 2022
“On a background call last night we were told that it’s going to be different from the Disinformation Governance Board in that it’s going to focus on illegal conduct online,” the reporter began.
“But the memo creating it was a little bit broader and it mentioned — I’m quoting from the document — ‘online harassment, abuse, and disinformation campaigns targeting women and LGBTQI+ individuals who are public and political figures.’”
“Can you clear up the ‘disinformation’ part?” he asked.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre replied that she would “need to talk to her team.”
She then notes that she was not party to the background call that the reporter had been on the night before.
The White House issued a press release detailing the task force’s creation and a number of its objectives going forward.
“Today, President Biden will sign a Presidential Memorandum establishing the White House Task Force to Address Online Harassment and Abuse, responding to the need for government leadership to address online harms, which disproportionately affect women, girls, people of color, and LGBTQI+ individuals,” the press release states.
The task force’s primary goal will be to “produce recommendations for the Federal government, state governments, technology platforms, schools, and other public and private entities to prevent and address technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including a focus on the nexus between online misogyny and radicalization to violence.”
The task force was also to be instrumental in “developing programs and policies to address the disproportionate impact of online harassment, abuse, and disinformation campaigns targeting women and LGBTQI+ individuals who are public and political figures, government and civic leaders, activists, and journalists in the United States and globally.”