The White House on Thursday openly admitted to working hand-in-hand with Facebook and potentially other social media platforms to surveil “problematic posts” online regarding the coronavirus pandemic that the administration deems to be “disinformation.”
“This is a big issue of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during a press briefing Thursday, before casually admitting to blatant censorship practices.
“In terms of actions … that we have taken, or we’re working to take, I should say, from the federal government, we’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s office,” Psaki continued.
“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation,” she added.
Psaki noted earlier that the interactions the administration has had with social media platforms “typically happen through members of our senior staff.”
Psaki’s remarks followed the release of a public health advisory issued by Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, in which Murthy called on social media platforms to “strengthen the monitoring of misinformation” and “prioritize early detection of misinformation ‘super-spreaders’ and repeat offenders.”
They can do so, he suggested, by “redesign[ing] recommendation algorithms to avoid amplifying misinformation” and “build[ing] in ‘frictions’ — such as suggestions and warnings — to reduce the sharing of misinformation and make it easier for users to report misinformation.”
During the press briefing Thursday, Murthy argued that “today we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent & insidious threat to our nation’s health.”
The administration’s admitted crackdown on speech follows reports last week that it was planning to monitor text messages for vaccine “misinformation.” With this newest revelation, the administration has caused more uproar among critics in regard to its speech monitoring conduct.
“This is so dystopian, so Orwellian,” commented Heritage communications director John Cooper. “Highest levels of government telling us what’s misinformation, and how they’re going to combat it ‘for our safety,’ or whatever.”
Some critics noted the particularly egregious aspect of the revelation is that it appears the government is giving marching orders to social media platforms about what constitutes misinformation. If what the White House says is true, it certainly blurs the lines between the public and private nature of Big Tech companies.
“Interesting!” reacted former White House press secretary for President Trump, Kayleigh McEnany. “Here is the White House (probably unwittingly) bolstering President Trump’s Big Tech lawsuit, alleging these companies have become pseudo-government actors!”