May 18, 2024
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  • Source: FreePressers
  • 05/16/2024
FPI / May 13, 2024

In 2020, the “tip of the FBI spear” handled the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, coordinating with social media platforms to ensure what was an all-too-true report would be essentially wiped from the platforms as "disinformation."

"In essence, there was a multi-vector suppression campaign at the FBI — the Bureau did not follow the facts and enforce U.S. law," the Marco Polo Research Group noted. "Furthermore, the DOJ OIG watchdog — led by Michael Horowitz and his top lawyer, Adam Miles — has also done nothing in terms of accountability for the repeated and verifiable FBI policy violations."

With that in mind, is it any surprise that the FBI has confirmed it is again coordinating with Big Tech companies to remove "disinformation" from those platforms during the 2024 election campaign?

Just as it did in 2020 when — with the U.S. intelligence community — it essentially labeled the laptop story "disinformation" planted by Russia, the FBI admitted it is again coordinating with the major social media platforms on 2024 election coverage, having neither  acknowledged its earlier abuses of power nor provided assurances they will not happen again this year.

“The FBI remains committed to combating foreign malign influence operations, including in connection with our elections. That effort includes sharing specific foreign threat information with state and local election officials and private sector companies when appropriate and rigorously consistent with the law,” an FBI representative told The Federalist. “In coordination with the Department of Justice, the FBI recently implemented procedures to facilitate sharing information about foreign malign influence with social media companies in a way that reinforces that private companies are free to decide on their own whether and how to take action on that information.”

Related: Part 3: ‘Tip of the FBI spear’ managed the 2020 ‘assessment’ of the Biden laptop, March 25, 2024

In a case currently before the Supreme Court, Murhty v. Missouri, the issue of government-compelled censorship is front and center. The case focuses on allegations from Missouri and Louisiana that the federal government’s pressuring of social media companies to censor free speech online constitutes a violation of the First Amendment.

U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction in July 2023 barring federal agencies from colluding with Big Tech to censor posts they don’t like. In his ruling, Doughty wrote, “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.”

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently upheld Doughty’s injunction in September. The Supreme Court, however, lifted the Fifth Circuit’s injunction in October, effectively allowing the federal government’s censorship operations to resume while the court considered the merits of the case.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a final ruling on the merits of Murthy v. Missouri this summer.

On May 6, Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters that federal agencies such as the FBI and Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) had restarted discussions with Big Tech platforms. According to NextGov/FCW, this coordination will focus on “removing disinformation on their sites as the November presidential election nears.”

The Federalist's Shawn Fleetwood noted: "Neither the FBI nor CISA responded when pressed on when they restarted communications with social media companies on efforts to remove posts containing so-called 'disinformation' from their platforms. The FBI and CISA did not identify the specific companies they’re working with on such efforts. Neither agency provided an answer when questioned on how they determine what constitutes 'disinformation' or what other federal agencies they are collaborating with in these efforts to have 'disinformation' removed from social media platforms."

Meanwhile, a member of the Meta Oversight Board said in a recent livestream that the company which operates Facebook places “international human rights norms” above the First Amendment when it considers free speech issues, Logan Washburn reported for The Federalist on May 10.

“As Meta became more global, it realized what an outlier the United States was, and could not simply default back to U.S. First Amendment jurisprudence,” said Kenji Yoshino, a member of the Meta Oversight Board, an independent entity that advises the platform. “Our baseline here is not the U.S. Constitution and free speech, but rather international human rights norms.”

Yoshino, a board member for the leftist William J. Brennan Center for Justice, made this comment in a livestream with fellow Meta Oversight Board member and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution Michael McConnell.

McConnell said he agrees with Meta’s ability to censor content: “Even within the United States, private companies are free to not convey speech that they disagree with over their platforms.”

Meta has always prohibited some content like obscenity from the very beginning, according to McConnell. The Wall Street Journal, however, reported last year that Meta-owned Instagram connected vast networks of pedophiles, and its algorithms promoted child sexual content.

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