Government isn’t good at much other than covering up its own tracks. And when it comes to COVID-19’s origins, it appears all hands were on deck to obfuscate US involvement and tax dollars in the Wuhan lab.
“Can someone quickly remind me why we were removing…claims that Covid is man made” asked Facebook’s prez of global affairs in 7/21 email
Answered a FB VP in charge of censorship: “We were under pressure from the administration & others to do more. We shouldn’t have done it” https://t.co/lEi3ERde9Y
— Justin Goodman (@JustinRGoodman) July 28, 2023
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Internal Meta emails say pressure from Washington was behind a decision to take down posts attributing [the] pandemic to [a] man-made virus.”
Facebook complied with the requests and removed content by users, aka censored the free speech of the American public, that presented evidence of a lab leak theory.
“Can someone quickly remind me why we were removing—rather than demoting/labeling—claims that Covid is man made,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president of global affairs, wrote in a July 2021 email to his colleagues.
“We were under pressure from the administration and others to do more,” Facebook’s vice president of content policy responded. “We shouldn’t have done it.”
The emails were obtained by the House Judiciary Committee, which subpoenaed Facebook as part of a larger investigation into the government’s censorship campaign against social media companies and users. They were written three months after Facebook ceased its censorship policy over the lab leak.
In another April 2021 email, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president for global affairs, informed his team at Facebook that Andy Slavitt, a Senior Advisor to President Biden, was “outraged . . . that [Facebook] did not remove” a particular post. pic.twitter.com/5muflAQjcx
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 27, 2023
And the lab leak wasn’t the only thing the White House was trying to get censored on the social media platform. Other communications show senior Biden advisor Andy Slavitt melting down over the company’s failure to remove a humorous meme that portrayed COVID vaccine participants joining a class action lawsuit.
Here’s the maligned meme in question for your reference:
What did the Biden White House want removed?
That’s right, even memes weren’t spared from the Biden White House’s censorship efforts. pic.twitter.com/6BhDxTHsUi
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 27, 2023
For his part, Clegg did seem to at least make an attempt to stand up for the Constitution against the White House, writing, “that removing content like that would represent a significant incursion into traditional boundaries of free expression in the US” in response to the demand. But Slavitt was unperturbed, replying that such communications would, “inhibit confidence in Covid vaccines amongst those the Biden administration is trying to reach.”
Sir. Whose problem is that? You don’t inspire confidence by censoring those that don’t trust you. It’d be hard to point to a bigger buffoon of a comment. Frankly, we should be working to make it illegal for federal bureaucrats to infringe on our rights in this manner.
Instead, we’ve seen Republicans like Josh Hawley and John Kennedy moronically team up with Democrats like Amy Klobuchar to give the federal government more control over social media companies and a greater ability to threaten them with destructive practices like antitrust when they don’t comply with these kinds of demands.
It’s important to remember that by the summer of 2021, Biden was claiming the allowance of “disinformation” on social media would get people killed and he began actively working to implement a creepy “disinformation board” to permanently clamp down on free speech online. He had to give up that bonkers plan after justified and tremendous public backlash, but that he tried to do it should forever be a permanent A on his chest.
Because such practices are always wrong, constitutionally and morally. Free speech is a human right, even when what’s being expressed is incorrect, and especially when what’s being said challenges the powers that be. But in this case, the speech wasn’t even incorrect.
Thanks to the White Coat Waste Project, where I am a Fellow, we’ve had the smoking gun that proved the NIH was funding gain-of-function research in Wuhan all along. Evidence continues to pour in that the experts, scientists, and bureaucrats who worked to censor Americans who dared point to that likelihood were well aware it was far more than a conspiracy theory, and it seems many were complicit in trying to cover Fauci’s tracks as their motivation for that manipulation.
In the end, government censorship was and is the only truly dangerous threat on the table here. If the government can block the free exchange of information, it can block Americans from ever truly knowing all of its corrupt practices—it must be fought against vigorously.
Going forward, those within the government that work to censor Americans should face charges for violating the First Amendment and the Constitution. To be clear, such charges somehow currently do not exist within our criminal code, and historically we have not prosecuted government bureaucrats who violate the Constitution or the fundamental rights of Americans. But my argument is that we should add criminal penalties, and perhaps if we did, we’d actually see the Bill of Rights get some respect around here. Congress can create a federal statute that would attach criminal penalties to this kind of behavior.
Furthermore, Section 230 must be defended so that companies can best determine their content moderation practices free from government pressure. And antitrust must be extremely limited, which would require gutting the Federal Trade Commission’s budget and throwing out bogus bills like Hawley/Klobuchar’s “American Innovation and Choice Online Act.”
The government has many methods of subverting free speech. But these have been its pet policies over the past couple of years—and we must be on guard against them.
Disclaimer: Hannah is a Fellow for the White Coat Waste Project and a Consultant for Netchoice, both of whom work on policies addressed in this piece.