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    Outsourced censorship: Feds used private entity to target millions of social posts in 2020

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    Records demonstrate that the Biden administration donated millions of tax dollars to organizations after the election. According to Election Integrity Partnership, it was only successful in labeling, removing, or restricting content on digital platforms in 35% of cases.

    According to interviews and documents obtained by Just the News, a consortium of four private organizations collaborated with the departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and State to censor significant numbers of social media posts that they deemed to be inaccurate during the 2020 election. The consortium’s members were then given millions of dollars in federal funding by the Biden administration as compensation.

    Civil libertarians are concerned that the Election Integrity Cooperation, a terrifying new public-private partnership to circumvent the First Amendment’s ban on government censorship, may be expanding in anticipation of the 2022 midterm elections.

    The Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and social media analytics company Graphika are the consortium’s four member organizations. In 2020, it established a concierge-like service that allowed federal organizations including Homeland’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and State’s Global Engagement Center to submit “tickets” asking Big Tech to restrict or flag web story links and social media posts.

    The Democratic National Committee, Common Cause, and the NAACP, three leftist organizations, were given the same authority as federal agencies to file tickets asking for content filtering. The Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a project supported by Homeland, also had access.

    The consortium stated that it reported more than 4,800 URLs for social media sites during the 2020 election, which were shared approximately 22 million times on Twitter alone. From September to mid-November 2020, their personnel worked 12- to 20-hour shifts, with “monitoring intensif[ying] significantly” the week before and after election day.

    Civil libertarians are concerned that the Election Integrity Cooperation, a terrifying new public-private partnership to circumvent the First Amendment’s ban on government censorship, may be expanding in anticipation of the 2022 midterm elections.

    The Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the Center for an Informed Public at the University of Washington, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and social media analytics company Graphika are the consortium’s four member organizations. In 2020, it established a concierge-like service that allowed federal organizations including Homeland’s Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and State’s Global Engagement Center to submit “tickets” asking Big Tech to restrict or flag web story links and social media posts.

    The Democratic National Committee, Common Cause, and the NAACP, three leftist organizations, were given the same authority as federal agencies to file tickets asking for content filtering. The Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a project supported by Homeland, also had access.

    The consortium stated that it reported more than 4,800 URLs for social media sites during the 2020 election, which were shared approximately 22 million times on Twitter alone. From September to mid-November 2020, their personnel worked 12- to 20-hour shifts, with “monitoring intensif[ying] dramatically” the week before and after election day.

    Much of the consortium’s work was uncovered by Mike Benz, an ex-State Department official who would have been the agency’s first-ever digital freedom ambassador if President Donald Trump had won a second term. His Foundation for Freedom Online is a non-profit that promotes free speech internationally while keeping an eye on growing U.S. censorship.

    He told Just the News that the consortium was the biggest officially approved censorship organization he has ever seen, a forerunner to the Disinformation Governance Board that has since been dissolved, and one that is certain to expand in the course of future elections.

    “If you trace the chronology, you find that there was actually 18 months’ worth of institutional work to create this very apparatus that we now know played a significant role in the censorship of millions of posts for the 2020 election and has ambitious sights for 2022 and 2024,” he stated.

    “Amazingly, there are now so many Ministry of Truth functionaries within the Department of Homeland Security,” he continued. “There are so many Ministry of Truth tasks, so many Ministry of Truth points of contact, so many different Ministry of Truth, policies for whether to remove something, reduce it, slap a fact checking label on it.”

    More on this story via Just The News:

    “I think we were pretty effective in getting [platforms] to act on things they haven’t acted on before,” both by pressuring them to adopt specific censorship policies and then reporting violations, SIO founder and former Facebook Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos told the launch webinar. (He and Krebs started their own consultancy after the election.) CONTINUE READING…

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