GOP urges Biden to hand over Facebook ‘misinformation’

A trio of House Republicans on Tuesday asked President Biden to provide recordings of communications and meetings between the executive branch and social media giants Facebook and Twitter about so-called “misinformation” on those platforms.

“We remain concerned about attempts by your government to pressure private companies, such as Twitter and Facebook, to censor certain statements or to silence those with whom you disagree,” the letter, led by the senior member, said by the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash .) and sourced exclusively from The Post.

The letter comes a week after a federal judge in Louisiana ordered the White House to leak emails that press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci and other senior officials sent to social media companies.

US District Judge Terry Doughty’s order was in response to a lawsuit by Attorneys General Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Jeff Landry of Louisiana, which argued the Biden administration had colluded with Facebook and Twitter to limit “freedom of speech” to a row censorship of issues including the COVID-19 pandemic and elections.

3D printed Facebook and Twitter logos are placed on a computer motherboard
Republicans accused the Biden administration of ordering Facebook and Twitter to censor conservatives on COVID-19 issues.
REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

“We know that administrative officials and federal bureaucrats have called on these companies to censor legitimate news and public discourse about the COVID-19 pandemic under the guise of combating misinformation, disinformation, and vote-rigging,” the letter read Tuesday later adding, “We are writing to express our continued concern about the behavior of your administration and your federal agencies and to request documents and information regarding these reports.”

The requests, outlined in the letter, which were also signed by Reps. Robert Latta (R-Ohio) and Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), include recordings of meetings between executive branch officials and Facebook and Twitter employees.

Lawmakers also require “records and information” about the communications of individual Facebook and Twitter users, as well as “misinformation” or “disinformation” content.”

Lawmakers gave Biden until Sept. 26 to turn over the requested documents, a day before Doughty’s deadline for filing the administration’s emails in response to the lawsuit.

In a filing last month, Landry and Schmitt charged that “dozens of federal officials in at least 11 federal agencies” were involved in a “massive, sprawling federal ‘censorship enterprise'” with the “intent and effect of pressure on social media platforms.” exercise censorship and repression of private speech denied by federal officials.”

The filing included a July 16, 2021 email from an unidentified Facebook official to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, which read, in part, “I know our teams met today to review the scope of what the White House expected of us in relation to future misinformation to better understand.”

Seven days later, on July 23, the same Facebook official proudly informed Department of Health and Human Services officials that the company was taking action against a group dubbed the “disinformation dozen” for their posts about COVID-19 vaccines .

“[W]e removed 17 additional Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts associated with Desinfo Dozen (so a total of 39 profiles, Pages, groups and IG accounts deleted so far, resulting in each member of Desinfo Dozen had removed at least one such entity),” the email read, later adding, “We have also expanded the set of false claims that we are removing to keep up with recent trends in misinformation that we are seeing.”

Five days later, an email from a Facebook official to a contact at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that “in addition to our weekly meetings, there will be a monthly misinformation/debunking meeting that may last a few days.” Topics related to claims have been previously communicated that you can consult the appropriate experts and chat casually for about 30 minutes.”

“Yes, we would like to do that,” the CDC official replied.

The state AGs said last month they identified at least 45 people in the Departments of Health and Human Services and Homeland Security alone who have communicated with social media companies about “misinformation.”

They also claim that officials from other agencies, including the Census Bureau, Food and Drug Administration, FBI, State Department, and Treasury Department, at least knew about the “censorship company.”

Landry and Schmitt also claimed that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, admitted that at least 32 government officials, including employees of the FDA, the US Electoral Assistance Commission and the White House, had communicated with the company about content moderation — contacts who were not disclosed by the Facebook White House. GOP urges Biden to hand over Facebook ‘misinformation’


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