Lawsuit exposing Biden admin censorship collusion reveals Facebook knowingly suppressed 'often-true content' to please White House
As part of the discovery process in the ongoing civil lawsuit Missouri v. Biden, documented evidence of President Joe Biden's White House demanding and urging social media platforms to censor and suppress information they disagreed with or disliked has been publicly revealed.
Though ostensibly aimed at censoring false information about COVID-19 vaccines, among other things, one particular email exchange showed a Facebook employee acknowledging that what was being suppressed was "often-true content" that didn't violate any rules, The Daily Signal reported.
Other email exchanges also showed that the Biden staffer leading the effort to encourage more social media censorship, White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty, was abusively arrogant and entitled in making his demands for the various platforms to do even more on behalf of the administration to ensure that only its preferred narratives would be widely seen and promoted.
An important civil lawsuit exposing government-ordered censorship
Leading the charge in this legal fight is Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R), who said in a statement Monday, "I want to protect Missourians and the freedoms they enjoy, which is why as Attorney General, I will always defend the Constitution."
"This case is about the Biden Administration’s blatant disregard for the First Amendment and its collusion with Big Tech social media companies to suppress speech it disagrees with," he added. "I will always fight back against unelected bureaucrats who seek to indoctrinate the people of this state by violating our constitutional right to free and open debate."
In addition to that statement, Bailey's press release also included links to a number of damningly revelatory "exhibits" that evidenced the pressure applied by the White House on the social media platforms to engage in the sort of censorship of free speech that it is constitutionally prohibited from doing itself.
"Often-true content" was admittedly censored and suppressed
One such exhibit was an email chain that began on March 21, 2021, with a message from an unidentified Facebook staffer sent to President Biden's then-senior COVID-19 advisor Andy Slavitt that was also CC'd to Flaherty and included a rundown on what Facebook was doing in response to requests from the White House.
With regard to the requested efforts at "reducing virality of vaccine hesitancy content," the Facebook staffer wrote, "As you know, in addition to removing vaccine misinformation, we have been focused on reducing the virality of content discouraging vaccines that does not contain actionable information."
"This is often-true content, which we allow at the post level because it is important for people to be able to discuss both their personal experiences and concerns about the vaccine, but it can be framed as sensation, alarmist, or shocking," they added. "We’ll remove these Groups, Pages, and Accounts when they are disproportionately promoting this sensationalized content. More on this front as we proceed to implement."
Flaherty is an entitled and demanding jerk
As for Flaherty and his clear disregard for the First Amendment and freedom of speech, that was on display in an April 14, 2021 email to the Facebook staffer in which he criticized the platform's "reduction" efforts and demanded that Fox News host Tucker Carlson and conservative pundit Tomi Lahren be censored over their personal opinions about the efficacy of the vaccines.
"Since we’ve been on the phone -- the top post about vaccines today is tucker Carlson saying they don’t work. Yesterday was Tomi Lehren saying she won’t take one," Flaherty wrote. "This is exactly why I want to know what 'Reduction' actually looks like -- if 'reduction' means 'pumping our most vaccine hesitant audience with tucker Carlson saying it doesn’t work' then … I’m not sure it’s reduction!"
In another example, the Facebook staffer on May 10, 2021, emailed Flaherty with an update on the measurable success of its efforts to promote vaccines, to which Flaherty fired back the next day, "Hard to take any of this seriously when you're actively promoting anti-vaccine pages in search," with a link to a tweet that featured a screenshot of Instagram search results.
The staffer replied almost apologetically on May 12, 2021, and noted that the offending search results highlighted by Flaherty had been dealt with while vowing to do even more to suppress anti-vaccine content and promote "authoritative" resources in searches, but Flaherty was unimpressed and condescendingly asserted later that day that Facebook had failed to accomplish even the "low-bar things" that it had been asked to do.
"You say in your note that you remove accounts that discourage vaccination from appearing in recommendations (even though you’re using 'primarily' to give yourself wiggle room). You also said you don’t promote those accounts in search," Flaherty wrote. "Youtube, for their warts, has done pretty well at promoting authoritative info in search results while keeping the bad stuff off of those surfaces. Pinterest doesn’t even show you any results other than official information when you search for 'vaccines.' I don’t know why you guys can’t figure this out."