A House Judiciary Committee report has exposed a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a group at Stanford University, accused of engaging in a ‘disinformation campaign’ aimed at suppressing Americans’ online speech leading up to the 2020 presidential election.
Alert, suppress, remove content
The report, spanning 103 pages, revealed a series of emails and internal communications detailing how the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), in collaboration with DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), worked to alert, suppress, and remove specific online content in coordination with major tech companies.
According to the report, these communications demonstrated how “the federal government and universities pressured social media companies to censor accurate information, humor, and political viewpoints.” The report emphasized that this pressure appeared to favor one side of the political spectrum, where content posted by Republicans and conservatives was labeled as “misinformation,” while false information shared by Democrats and liberals went largely untouched by censorship.
The pseudoscience of disinformation
The report described this practice as “the pseudoscience of disinformation,” suggesting it to be a political strategy often targeting individuals and communities with opposing viewpoints to what are viewed as mainstream narratives.
Prominent figures such as former President Donald Trump, North Carolina GOP Senator Thom Tillis, Georgia GOP Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Kentucky GOP Representative Thomas Massie had their social media posts marked as “misinformation.”
The report went on to reveal that, under the influence of CISA’s Countering Foreign Influence Task Force, the federal government’s objective was to “censor Americans engaged in core political speech in the lead-up to the 2020 election.”
In response to concerns about foreign influence operations and disinformation affecting the election’s security, CISA aimed to mitigate disinformation risk by providing election literacy and security information to the public, as well as amplifying trusted voices among election officials.
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