“The FBI, I think, basically came to us – some folks on our team – and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert… We thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. We have it on notice that, basically, there’s about to be some kind of dump of that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant.’” – Mark Zuckerberg, The Joe Rogan Experience
Writes Jonathan Turley in “Zuckerberg Reveals the FBI Told His Company to be Wary of ‘Russian Disinformation’“:
[Facebook’s parent company Meta] only recently allowed customers to discuss the lab theory of the origins of Covid after years of biased censorship. Facebook’s decision to allow people to discuss the theory followed the company’s Oversight Board upholding a ban on any postings of Trump, a move that even figures like Germany’s Angela Merkel and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) have criticized as a danger to free speech. Even Trump’s voice has been banned by Facebook. Trump remains too harmful for Facebook users to hear . . . at least until the company decides that they are ready for such exposure. Facebook has tried to get customers to embrace censorship in a commercial campaign despite its long record of abusive and biased “content modification.”
Note such actions by private companies are not censorship – unless pressure, no matter how light, was imposed upon by the government.
Politicians know that the First Amendment only deals with government censorship, but who needs “Big Brother” when a slew of “Little Brothers” can do the work more efficiently and comprehensively?
When Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey came before the Senate to apologize for blocking the Hunter Biden story before the election, he was met by demands from Democratic leaders for more censorship. Senator Chris Coons (D., Md.) pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) chastised the companies for shying away from censorship and told them that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded that they “commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election.”
Republicans have been acting in the opposite direction, seeking to force companies to not block information (which is also censorship). Though in practice, the Democrat variant of banning speech at this time is a far greater danger, than bills that call for the equal promulgation of opposing viewpoints according to “free speech principles,” the proper response is to ban government interference in all speech that does not violate the rights of others.