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Who is Pressuring Social Media Companies to Censor?

April 28, 2021

Official documents reveal officials colluded with a PR firm working for the Biden campaign pressuring social media to suppress posts

By Thomas Lifson



Forget about those claims that Big Tech has every right to censor political information on their platforms because they are private firms. That’s not true when these companies operate as “state actors” working in collusion with or at the command of government entities. Judicial Watch once again has uncovered stunning proof of malfeasance through lawsuits based on freedom of information laws. (I donate to Judicial Watch because of the bang-for-the-buck they provide, and I urge readers to consider donating, too; click here to do so.) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 540 pages and a supplemental four pages of documents from the office of the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these documents were “misinformation briefings” emails that were compiled by communications firm SKDK, that lists Biden for President as their top client of 2020. The documents show how the state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor a Judicial Watch video concerning the vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up. The records were obtained in response to Judicial Watch’s California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests to the Office of the California Secretary of State for records related to the Office of Election Cybersecurity’s database of social media posts; communications with social media companies; and other social media related records regarding the 2020 elections. Judicial Watch was alerted to the abuse by a post late last year in CalMatters – that proved to be true, according to the uncovered documents: The Office of Election Cybersecurity in the California Secretary of State’s office monitored and tracked social media posts, decided if they were misinformation, stored the posts in an internal database coded by threat level, and on 31 different occasions requested posts be removed. In 24 cases, the social media companies agreed and either took down the posts or flagged them as misinformation, according to Jenna Dresner, senior public information officer for the Office of Election Cybersecurity. “We don’t take down posts, that is not our role to play,” Dresner said. “We alert potential sources of misinformation to the social media companies and we let them make that call based on community standards they created.” This is certainly “collusion” (remember how much the media liked to throw around that term with regard to the utterly fictitious charge that the Trump 2016 campaign colluded with Russia?) if not outright conspiracy – as in conspiracy to violate the civil rights (the First Amendment) of citizens. I am no lawyer, but I have the impression that one can sue for conspiracies to violate civil rights. The activities were so questionable that one California bureaucrat worried about it and about how to put a lid on discovery of the activities, as Sundance highlights: One of the California government officials, Deputy Secretary of State and Chief Communications Officer Paula Valle, even begins to question the legality of their coordinated conduct after journalists and people who had their content removed started asking for specific answers why. […] “the reporter at Cal Matters who PRA’d us is doing a follow-up story. We asked him to send us his questions. I am not necessarily comfortable with his line of questions and the additional doors that this will open. I want to get your feedback I would simply like to give him a statement about what our goal is and leave it at that. Thoughts?” Sundance also cautions us that the feds are getting involved in similar efforts: This is additionally important because it has been reported the Federal Department of Homeland Security is also working with Big Tech to monitor the social media posting of American citizens in order to identify “domestic extremists.” REMEMBER…. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is now getting ready to hire public companies, individual contractors outside government, to scour public data and social media in order to provide information for the new “domestic terror watch lists.” From the description it appears DHS is going to pay “big tech” (Google, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, etc.), via contracts, to hire and organize internal monitoring teams to assist the government by sending information on citizens they deem “dangerous.” NBC News Article I am so old that I remember when liberals celebrated the free market of ideas, and thought censorship was bad. Now that the left is engaged in shoving election-rigging, race quotas and mob rule down our throats, they are behaving like all the other totalitarian [political regimes and suppressing all views but their own. “Misinformation” today means views that progressives don’t like. I hope that California and the tech companies get sued for billions and lose. Meanwhile, a state that is flourishing (while California drives away so many residents that for the first time in history it is losing a House seat) is on the way to passing legislation that could address this problem. WCJB TV reports: The Florida Senate passed legislation requiring social media companies to publish standards for use and abide by them when it comes to de-platforming users Monday. The legislation carries heavy fines and the threat of lawsuits. Big Tech platforms face $100,000 a day fines if they de-platform a statewide candidates and $10,000 a day for other candidates. In 2018, Matt Caldwell, the losing candidate for Florida Agriculture Commissioner was de-platformed for his pro NRA ad which YouTube removed for almost a day. “They were able to take a whole segment of free press away, saying we don’t want to hear those words; we don’t want top hear that speech. And we’re going to de-platform you. This bill fixes that,” said Senator Kelli Stargel. The Senate version allows the state or individuals to sue.



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