A federal lawsuit filed against the Biden administration alleging public-private collusion that violated the First Amendment rights of American citizens during the coronavirus pandemic is shedding new light on how deeply Big Tech coordinated with the Biden administration to censor public dissent about official pandemic policies.
The lawsuit is brought by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana, Eric S. Schmitt (who recently won the Republican nomination to contest Missouri’s upcoming Senate race) and Jeff Landry, respectively.
The lawsuit is joined by scientists and doctors who signed the Great Barrington Declaration, which recommended targeted protection for the most vulnerable during coronavirus, as opposed to society-wide lockdowns and mandates.
Analysis by legal expert Jonathan Turley notes that Twitter was being asked to discuss censoring viewpoints with the government in the same week that its then-CEO, Jack Dorsey, was testifying before Congress that the company did not censor, a request that the company described as “tricky.”
Via Jonathan Turley:
The recently disclosed exchange between defendant Carol Crawford, the CDC’s Chief of digital media, revealed a back channel with Twitter and other companies to censor “unapproved opinions” on social media. The “tricky” part may be due to the fact that, during that week of March 25, 2021, then CEO Jack Dorsey was testifying on such censorship before Congress and insisting that “we don’t have a censoring department.” It seems that any meeting on systemic censorship with the government would have to wait until after Dorsey denied that such systemic censorship existed.
The request for the meeting was made on March 18, 2021. That week, Dorsey and other CEOs were to appear at a House hearing to discuss “misinformation” on social media and their “content modification” policies. I had just testified on private censorship in circumventing the First Amendment as a type of censorship by surrogate. Dorsey and the other CEOs were asked about my warning of a “little brother problem, a problem which private entities do for the government which it cannot legally do for itself.” Dorsey insisted that there was no such censorship office or effort.
The new lawsuit sheds new light on that testimony. It now appears that the CDC was actively feeding disapproved viewpoints to these companies, including a list of tweets that the CDC regarded as misinformation. In one email, Twitter senior manager for public policy Todd O’Boyle asked Crawford to help identify tweets to be censored and emphasized that the company was “looking forward to setting up regular chats.”
The collusion also extended to other tech giants, with Facebook being similarly eager to assist the Biden administration in its new role as censor-by-proxy:
Facebook also received lists of “offensive” posts to be “dealt with.” Facebook trained government officials in using its “CrowdTangle” system used by “health departments [to] flag potential vaccine misinformation” to allow the company to review and possibly remove it. It added that “this is similar to how governments and fact-checkers use CrowdTangle ahead of elections….”
The Biden administration has been quite public in its demands for tech companies to censor what it considers “misinformation,” with Biden going so far as to accuse tech platforms of “killing people” for not acquiescing to the government’s censorship diktats in a timely enough manner. The lawsuit looks set to reveal how official censorship demands played out in backchannels as well.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.