UncoverDC has been providing you with the most in-depth coverage of the landmark Missouri v. Biden censorship case you will find anywhere. However, there have been a few instances of government censorship revealed that we feel EVERY American must know so we’ve distilled that down for you in this column.
For those who like the nitty gritty, you can find all of our work on this case by clicking here.
For those who want the TLDR, Missouri and Louisiana, along with several individual plaintiffs, sued the federal government, accusing them of pressuring and threatening big social media companies to censor Americans' speech on a number of different topics. The judge granted expedited depositions and discovery in the case so that he can rule on a temporary injunction to halt this government action while the trial progressed. That act in itself is relatively unheard of, but what it has produced so far? It’s worse than we imagined.
So here are the top 6 most shocking recent revelations of government censorship, coming from recent discovery releases in the case.
1. CISA considers your thoughts “Cognitive Infrastructure”
One of the most stunning things we’ve learned from this lawsuit is that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency now considers your thoughts and what you post online, a part of the United States Government's “critical infrastructure,” thereby giving them the authority to regulate them. I don’t think anyone asked everyday Americans if they’d want the government regulating what goes on inside their brains, but alas, here we are.
Through discovery that has been released, we have uncovered that CISA is at the forefront of censorship activities in the United States, often acting in concert with taxpayer-funded NGOs to act as a sort of “censorship help desk.” They became so overwhelmed that they decided to create something known as the “disinformation governance board,” which would provide them the funding and, more importantly, the public cover to be able to continue funneling censorship demands to social media behemoths, like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Understandably, once this “disinformation governance board” became public knowledge, it was promptly disbanded. However, the activities it was meant to cover have not.
2. Rob Flaherty coerced Facebook to ban and censor the vaccine injured, despite acknowledging their posts were true and didn’t break the Terms of Service
Rob Flaherty is the White House Director of Digital Strategy and a senior advisor to President Joe Biden. The government initially attempted to hide his involvement in censorship, but other discovery exposed his name, and the judge granted written interrogatory and discovery to the Plaintiffs in this case. As we will see in the examples below, Flaherty often acts as a ”boss” or manager to social media executives, cursing at them and treating them with disdain when they don’t follow his directives to censor the speech of Americans.
“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 misinformation. This is often-true content, which we allow at the post level because experts have advised us that 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. 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.”
3. Flaherty wanted Facebook to take more action in censoring the encrypted chat program "WhatsApp"
Rob Flaherty spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Facebook to more stringently censor WhatsApp, despite Facebook telling him they had no way to read the messages its users were sending one another. Facebook added multiple layers of censorship to the app, deboosting posts that were forwarded often and pinning what it called "authoritative" messages about COVID and vaccines to the application.
4. Flaherty wanted to know what Facebook was doing to censor vaccine claims that were “dubious” but not false
Rob Flaherty consistently demanded information about what Facebook was doing to censor content that was not false but that they considered “dubious.” He demanded internal data from the organization to confirm their efforts to censor Americans were working.
5. Joe Biden was inadvertently swept up in the censorship algorithm the White House forced Instagram to implement
In what can only be considered a stroke of serendipity, Joe Biden’s account on Instagram was inadvertently demoted and shadowbanned due to the frequency with which is was posting content about COVID-19 vaccines. Instagram, at the behest of an abusive Rob Flaherty, created an algorithm to demote accounts that were sharing an inordinate amount of vaccine-related content. Flaherty realized that the POTUS account wasn’t picking up followers and emailed execs at the company to let them know. They responded, stating that they couldn’t get into details, but the account had been fixed. After a profanity-laced email sent back from Flaherty, the execs were forced to admit that the very censorship algorithm they created to censor everyday Americans swept up the President as well. Needless to say, the White House didn’t much like being censored.
6. The office of First Lady Jill Biden was also involved in censoring Americans on Twitter
The First Lady also got into censorship action, begging Twitter to remove an edited video of Jill Biden that was clearly a parody. Twitter fought back against the demand but ultimately removed the content after Flaherty became involved and was copied on communications. We wouldn’t have known that censorship extended to the sitting First Lady without the expedited discovery order covering Rob Flaherty.
Throughout the filings, we see Rob Flaherty berating and abusing executives at social media companies, demanding internal analytics and data to ensure their policies are working and directing them to remove posts. We see he and his assistant, Andy Slavitt, scolding Facebook about a Tucker Carlson video that went viral on the platform, even though the video contained true content. There is much more you can read, so settle in with a cup of coffee and check out the detailed analysis here.
We will continue to cover this critical civil rights case as it progresses through the court.