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Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow

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Governments could be censoring social media content

May 7

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U.S. policymakers have struggled to agree on the rules of engagement with social media platforms, especially regarding violent, threatening or otherwise dangerous content. In the wake of recent events — namely the COVID-19 pandemic and the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, both of which were amplified by online dis- and mis-information — some have also argued for the need for government and social media companies to communicate on basic facts regarding elections and public health.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ben Weingarten examines the relationship between public policy and private social media platforms and argues that governments are effectively pressuring social media companies to favor or censor certain content, alleging “a mass censorship conspiracy.”

While the world awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on the preeminent censorship case of the digital era, Murthy v. Missouri, the censorship industrial complex is not sitting idly by. In fact, it’s striking back at those who would dare challenge it. Globally, we’ve seen the efforts of the Brazilian and Australian governments to bring X to heel for platforming people and content that the leaders of those countries disapprove of, in Australia’s case to ban content not just in Australia, but everywhere.

And we can easily see how these global efforts to impose speech controls in the name of combating hate speech for public safety could be used to launder censorship practices that could ensnare American speech.

Domestically, it seems clear the censorship regime is mobilizing to attack its American critics in a bid to protect itself. For months, there has been a press offensive to frame the very people who recast dissenting views on hotly contested political matters concerning election integrity, COVID policy, and a slew of other issues as threats to public health, safety and democracy, and successfully purge many such views and people from the digital public square as mere passive academic researchers and observers, rather than key participants in a mass censorship conspiracy.

While the world awaits the Supreme Court’s ruling on the preeminent censorship case of the digital era, Murthy V Missouri, the censorship industrial complex is not sitting idly by. In fact, it’s striking back at those who would dare challenge it. Globally, we’ve seen the efforts of the Brazilian and Australian governments to bring X to heel for platforming people and content that the leaders of those countries disapprove of, in Australia’s case to ban content not just in Australia, but everywhere. And we can easily see how these global efforts to impose speech controls in the name of combating hate speech for public safety, could be used to launder censorship practices that could ensnare American Speech. Domestically, it seems clear the censorship regime is mobilizing to attack its American critics in a bid to protect itself from Monster has been oppressive ffensive to frame the very people who recast dissenting views on hotly contested political matters concerning election integrity, COVID policy, and a slew of other issues as threats to public health, safety and democracy, and successfully purge many such views and people from the Digital Public Square as mere passive academic researchers and observers, rather than key participants and a mass censorship conspiracy. Recently, I covered 60 minutes effort to present censorship regime leaders as victims, part and parcel of this press offensive to rehabilitate the censors and go on the offense against those who have exposed their efforts and sought to dismantle the censorship industrial complex they have helped build. One such aggrieved leader is the self described Mary Poppins of disinformation, Nina Jenkins drink works, a Russian collusion monger who praised the man behind the dirty dossier at its heart, Christopher Steele and cast the 100 Biden laptop to is Russian disinformation was to head up the Biden administration’s ill fated disinformation governance board, which was to coordinate federal censorship activities. The effort collapse under public scrutiny back in 2022. Now jank wave has burst back onto the scene with a vengeance with the launch of a 501 C four called the American sunlight project, the organization headed up by the former disinformation czar and led by other veterans of Democrat administrations and progressive causes, and specifically in the national security apparatus. But with one former Facebook staffer who previously worked on Republican campaigns to claim the mantle of bipartisanship exists to quote, expose the infrastructure and funding behind the disinformation campaigns that are attempting to undermine American democracy, beginning with the campaign against disinformation research, the outfit which ironically refuses to detail who is backing it financially. At the same time, it seeks to expose everything they can about censorship regime critics, wrote in April 22 launch note that since April 2022, extremists have been running a campaign to undermine critical disinformation research ahead of the 2024 election and beyond, encompassing elected officials, conservative media attorneys paid for journalists and online influencers. The campaign has falsely claimed the federal government is overseeing a vast censorship regime in coordination with social media platforms, academic institutions, and civil society organizations. Of course, the district court in Louisiana and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found to the contrary, this regime did exist, but Janowitz knows better. The letter goes on to say of the campaign that it has relied on widespread smears against individual researchers and government employees, which have led to online and offline threats against them and their families and chilling effect across the research community. We believe this campaign represents the greatest threat to freedom of expression and academic integrity since the McCarthy era. The irony here is again, incredible. She’s arguing that the censors are the victims of an illiberal effort, talk about projection, the people will falsely accuse the president and continue to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being traitors shows for Putin, enemies of the state, seeking the national security apparatus on these Americans and our speech, say their exposures and critics are McCarthy eighths. I listened to a podcast interview Genk Woods participated in as part of the rollout of this operation, which provided some more insight into our worldview, and how it will manifest itself in this organization. She essentially cast anyone who opposes the censorship regime, as operating in bad faith, saying or critics seek power or profit. She claims there’s a conservative operation specifically to intimidate and harass disinformation researchers ahead of the 2024 election for political gain. This despite the fact a slew of non conservatives are combating the censorship industrial complex, unstated grounds of the most good faith types, seeking to protect our First Amendment on which of our other liberties rely. She claims she’s tired of people harassing the researchers under the guise of free speech. And so she’s endeavoring to, quote increase the cost of lies that undermine our democracy, which is to say, to warn against those who want free speech in the Digital Public Square, her organization as oppo researchers and open source investigators, who were going to work to blow open every link in the causal chain of disinformation from Congress to Elon Musk to Stephen Miller. She conceded that this war was amble Media Matters for the digital disinformation age. And that says it all. And all because some have engaged in a concerted effort to expose, defund and dismantle a censorship industrial complex that is served as a massive conspiracy to undermine our First Amendment that a group like this has emerged as a testament to the effectiveness of the effort to combat the censorship industrial complex, but it’s also a chilling illustration of how our political establishment would do anything and everything it can to discredit to browbeat and neutralize its political opponents in the name of its own power, profit and privilege.

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