Leaked, internal documents show the U.S. government has been colluding with social media companies to censor free speech and silence conservatives, The Intercept reports.
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Investigative reporters Lee Fang and Ken Klippenstein broke the story Monday, revealing hundreds of documents and records of private conversations that show government agencies, specifically the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working to silence opposing narratives online.
“We looked at really hundreds of documents that paint a vivid picture of the FBI, the DHS closely collaborating with the top social media platforms, Twitter and Facebook, to censor various forms of content under the banner of fighting disinformation,” Fang said in an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight Monday.
Fang called the relationship between the government agencies and social media giants “cozy.” The journalist noted various emails, texts and even monthly meetings showed that the tech giants were happy to work with the alphabet agencies to restrict free speech.
Fang told Carlson about a texting conversation between Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, who used to work for DHS, and current DHS official Jen Easterly where the two claimed the private sector needs to get “more comfortable with the government.”
“Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t,” Masterson reportedly said to Easterly in a text. “It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain.”
Amazing work at the @theintercept to bring this story out— Adam Foster (@AdamFostermusic) November 1, 2022
No conservative media outlet put in the work to get these #DHSLeaks published.
Hopefully it’s the start of something now that we know for sure.
Many thanks to @lhfang 🙏
Here was Lee Fang on @TuckerCarlson tonight pic.twitter.com/TlImNZRZp0
The Daily Wire noted the most consequential aspects of the report were the government’s efforts to censor online speech about the origins of COVID-19, racial justice, COVID-19 vaccines, the U.S. leaving Afghanistan and U.S. intervention in Ukraine.
Twitter denied the allegations in a statement to The Intercept.
A spokesperson for the social media company said it does, “not coordinate with other entities when making content moderation decisions.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said the report shows the federal government is engaging in “censorship by surrogate.”
“It is axiomatic that the government cannot do indirectly what it is prohibited from doing directly,” the professor said according to the Daily Wire. “If government officials are directing or facilitating such censorship, it raises serious First Amendment questions.”