Whistleblower disclosures suggest the government sought to ‘operationalize’ social media sites to combat supposed disinformation
According to documents leaked by Republican legislators, the Joe Biden administration had previously set broad goals for its Disinformation Board. This included using social media platforms in order to delete posts that were falsely deemed by government officials.
Open letter published Wednesday by Chuck Grassley and Josh Hawley, GOP senators from Iowa, to Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security chief, requesting details about the DHS Disinformation Governance Board. They cited whistleblower files.
This department “planned to coordinate efforts to leverage ties with social media platforms to enable the removal of user content,”In a press statement, the senators added that Big Tech sites were being considered. “enforce its agenda.”
While the project was recently paused due to public a backlash after it was first floated in April – with critics likening it to a state-run ‘Ministry of Truth’ – the lawmakers nonetheless said the documents raised “serious concerns”Learn more about this effort.
“The DGB was established to serve as much more than a simple ‘working group’ to ‘develop guidelines, standards, [and] guardrails’ for protecting civil rights and civil liberties,”They wrote. “In fact, DHS documents show that the DGB was designed to be the Department’s central hub, clearinghouse and gatekeeper for Administration policy and response to whatever it happened to decide was ‘disinformation.’”
Hawley and Grassley argued that there is no clearly defined Biden administration. “disinformation,”The DHS board showed serious bias from the beginning, even though it was promised that it would be apolitical. Particularly, they referred to Nina Jankowicz who was tapped as DGB leader. “a known trafficker of foreign disinformation and liberal conspiracy theories.”
Jankowicz could also be hired due to “her relationship with executives at Twitter,”Senators claimed that leaked material showed White House plans to retaliate. “operationalize”Connections with social media firms “implement its public policy goals.”
The draft notes that were prepared by Robert Silvers in April suggest that an official from DHS planned to meet Twitter executives for a discussion about the disinformation board. It is unclear if this meeting took place.
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The two senators urged Mayorkas to divulge more information about the department’s goals for the DGB, including whether it ever asked social media firms to “censor, flag, add context to, or remove”User posts and ban accounts. They also requested documents and communications related to Jankowicz, and called on the government to give its definition for actionable disinformation, saying it should “identify who exactly is ultimately responsible for making this determination.”