The Intercept recently performed a public service by documenting the Biden administration's plans to censor speech on internet platforms. Despite having shelved its proposal earlier this year to create a “Disinformation Governance Board,” Joe Biden's Department of Homeland Security is still quietly attempting to persuade Big Tech platforms to suppress content it deems to be disinformation. Among the topics for censorship the department identifies are “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.” All of these, of course, are vitally important subjects of public debate.
One of the most important tasks for the incoming Congress will be to prevent such soft governmental censorship by erecting a firm wall of separation between tech and state.
Collusion between the intelligence agencies and Big Tech to suppress political speech began under the Trump administration but has risen to new heights under Biden. Last March, FBI official Laura Dehmlow told social media executives “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” (Before the 2020 election, Dehmlow had used her FBI position to push Facebook to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story.) And much of Big Tech agrees with the mission the government is assigning it. “Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov't,” one Microsoft executive opined. There is even a formalized process for government officials to flag Facebook or Instagram content for removal through a special portal available only to them.