Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter on October 28, 2022, has had consequences that continue to reverberate throughout America. One immediate benefit was the reinstatement of not just the Twitter accounts of government officials like Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene, but also the accounts of hundreds if not thousands of patriots whose voices had been silenced on vital matters including vaccines, the War in Ukraine, the Hunter Biden laptop, critical race theory, election integrity, and transgender castration of minors.
In response to Musk’s liberation of Twitter, the mainstream media accused Musk of having caused a resurgence of online hate. Those accusations finally died down when Musk counter-attacked a shallow BBC reporter James Clayton for his baseless claims in a video that went viral (watch beginning at the 16:20 mark).
Another consequence of the Musk takeover was the result of his opening of confidential corporate files to a succession of independent journalists including Matt Taibbi. These independent journalists posted long successions of Tweets, dubbed the “Twitter Files,” which documented the sinister relationship between Twitter under its prior management and the Deep State. The Biden Deep State issued the censorship orders, and Twitter did the dirty work in censoring dissent.
Based on the Twitter files, Americans learned from journalist Lee Fang about a “censorship portal,” where Big Tech companies like Twitter and Facebook allowed the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to police the speech of Americans, and “flag” speech with which the federal agencies disagreed as “disinformation” for Big Tech to take down or suppress. Big Tech was then “reimbursed” with taxpayer money for its trouble in spotting and removing dissident speech from the web. In December 2022, the New York Post reported that “[t]he FBI paid Twitter nearly $3.5 million of taxpayer cash to ban accounts largely linked to conservative voices….”
But the taxpayer-money laundering has gone far beyond just the FBI. Other federal agencies have apparently also collaborated with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), paying them taxpayer dollars for “disinformation” efforts, which the NGOs have used to target online speech with which the administration disagrees, to then be silenced by the Big Tech companies.
Spending taxpayer money to censor taxpayers would seem to be among the most egregious activities of a federal government that is supposed to obey the First Amendment’s promise: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”
In December 2022, Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), while still the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Twitter demanding “communications and details of FBI payments made to Twitter.” In April, 2023, now-Judiciary Committee Chairman Jordan sent subpoenas to multiple federal agencies demanding records to show the extent of collusion between government and Big Tech, including taxpayer payments to do the administration’s political bidding. Subpoenas were sent to the CDC, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the Global Engagement Center (GEC), a State Department subsidiary. “[T]he GEC, which granted $100,000 to the Global Disinformation Index in 2021, has reportedly also given money to the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. That same lab flagged more than 40,000 accounts to Twitter in June 2021.”
On March 9, 2023, journalist Michael Shellenberger testified before the Weaponization Committee about what he called the “Censorship Industrial Complex,” and urged Congress to defund all such programs. Since January 2021, Shellenberger testified that much more money is being spent on censorship than just the few million dollars handed to Twitter. He explained that since January 2021:
the National Science Foundation (NSF) has made at least 64 government grants totaling $31.8 million on the science of “countering” social media “mis/disinformation” and two government grants totaling $7 million. Forty-two colleges and universities received 64 grants. NSF created a new research track, “Track F”, for disinformation and censorship research called the “Trust and Authenticity in Communication Systems.”
Shellenberger noted that “[t]he censorship complex employs various tactics” — including “the relentless demand for censorship, as we saw with the Twitter Files and the Facebook Files…. Another is directing government and philanthropic money toward research and advocacy for greater censorship of social media platforms.” (Today, many have forgotten that in 2021, stories about the so-called “Facebook Files” were released which explained that the social media site used by some 2.9 billion people was manipulating its News Feed algorithm to suppress disfavored views.)
When the Biden Administration tried to institutionalize such government control over social media with its “Disinformation Governance Board,” even the far-left ACLU criticized Twitter’s former policies: “The First Amendment bars the government from deciding for us what is true or false, online or anywhere. Our government can’t use private pressure to get around our constitutional rights.”
I don’t think that there’s any way to do it other than to treat it as an information war,” admitted Renee DiResta, a founder of the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), one of the top left-wing content censors receiving taxpayer dollars.” “It’s a constantly evolving arms race” to censor social media content, DiResta said. “This will require that social media platforms, independent researchers, and the government work together as partners in the fight” against conservative speech on social media.
As Shellenberger explained “Censorship is a subsidized industry,” making freedom-loving taxpayers funding a war on their own freedoms. The Left recognizes that we are in an information war. If House Republicans fail to recognize that truth and fail to cut off federal funds being used to censor speech in violation of the First Amendment, it will be difficult to regain the country. House Republicans hold the power of the purse, and must use it to defund all government efforts to influence speech – Now!
Postscript: Although Twitter has come a long way in freeing up speech, it is still censoring in some areas. For example, an effort to Tweet a story from Health Impact News entitled: “INFANTICIDE: 4,739 Dead Babies in VAERS Following COVID-19 Shots Injected Into Pregnant and Child-Bearing Aged Women,” could not be Tweeted as this story was being finalized. Twitter responds: “Something went wrong, but don’t fret — let’s give it another shot,” as well as a message which appears briefly and disappears: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”
To read the articles in this series, please click here.