Free Speech

Biden Is Trying to Impose Online Censorship by Proxy

The administration’s public pressure campaign against COVID-19 "misinformation" cannot be reconciled with its avowed respect for freedom of expression.

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President Joe Biden wants to suppress speech that discourages Americans from being vaccinated against COVID-19. Because the First Amendment does not allow him to do that, he is asking Facebook and other social media companies to do it for him.

Or at least that's the way White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, who calls the Biden administration's demands for speech restrictions "our asks," describes the situation. But given the federal government's power to make life difficult for Facebook et al., the line between a request and a command is hazy, and so is the line between private content moderation and government censorship.

The background to this dispute includes an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook that was dismissed last month but may be refiled by the Federal Trade Commission. It also includes Biden's opposition to a federal law that shields online platforms from liability for content posted by users, which he thinks "should be revoked," a woefully misguided idea that nevertheless has bipartisan support.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy last week issued an advisory calling for a "whole-of-society" effort to combat the "urgent threat to public health" posed by "health misinformation." His recommendations included "appropriate legal and regulatory measures that address health misinformation while protecting user privacy and freedom of expression"—an oxymoronic formulation, since it is hard to imagine how any such measures could be consistent with the First Amendment.

Biden followed up the threat of government-imposed speech controls by accusing social media companies of "killing people" by allowing the spread of anti-vaccine messages. He modified that charge on Monday, saying platforms like Facebook are merely accessories to homicide.

"Facebook isn't killing people," Biden told reporters. "These 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It's killing people."

Biden thinks those "12 people" should be banished from social media because they have played an outsized role in promoting anti-vaccine arguments. The White House also wants platforms to move more swiftly against other users who post "misinformation"; automatically ban users whose accounts have been suspended on other platforms; and make anti-vaccine content less conspicuous by changing the algorithms they use to recommend posts.

"We don't take anything down," Psaki emphasized last week. "We don't block anything." Rather, the administration is merely "flagging problematic posts" and suggesting "additional steps" that Facebook et al. should take against "information that is leading to people not taking the vaccine," because "people are dying as a result."

Psaki's assurances are hard to take seriously given the public pressure that the Biden administration is applying, its ability to launch litigation and support legislation that hurts social media companies, and its threat of "legal and regulatory measures." If those companies do what the president wants by cracking down on speech he does not like, they will be acting as the government's agents.

This censorship by proxy is especially troubling because the "misinformation" that offends Biden and Murthy is not limited to verifiably false statements about COVID-19 vaccines, such as claims that they cause infertility or alter human DNA. It also includes messages that are accurate but "misleading," which could mean they discourage vaccination by emphasizing small risks, noting that vaccines are not completely effective, or raising questions about the methodology of vaccine studies.

Nor is the "misinformation" targeted by the Biden administration confined to speech about vaccines. Murthy is also concerned about messages that might encourage people to "reject public health measures such as masking and physical distancing," which would encompass even good-faith skepticism about the effectiveness of those safeguards.

In fact, the "health misinformation" that Murthy decries includes any statement about COVID-19 that he views as "misleading" in light of the "best available evidence," which is open to interpretation and "can change over time." If the Biden administration expects social media platforms to enforce that hopelessly subjective standard, it is demanding unprecedented regulation of online speech that cannot possibly be reconciled with its avowed respect for freedom of expression.

© Copyright 2021 by Creators Syndicate Inc.

NEXT: Trump Slashed Regulations That Stopped Americans From Having a Good Shower. Biden Is Bringing Them Back.

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  1. “Our asks” = “our axe.”

  2. Reason seems to be waking up to what we’ve been saying for months.

    1. Trying to claw back some credibility, as they’re useless to the left as controlled opposition if everyone realizes they’re just another leftist rag.
      And they know if they’re useless to the left, they’ll have no reason for being.

      1. What a strange world you must live in where not only is people disagreeing with you evidence of their villainy, but people agreeing with you is also evidence of their villainy because it must be a secret plot to trick you. The leftists are too stupid to run the world efficiently but so brilliant that they can manipulate it like puppet masters.

        If Reason is going to say what needs to be said that can only be a good thing. It’s not less valuable because they only are just now getting around to saying it.

        1. I see we have a true believer in Reason’s credibility here.
          Facts and logic be damned, faith alone!

        2. This article completely contradicts the coverage of this topic when Trump filed his lawsuit. They called it ridiculous. Then Biden and Psaki admitted it, and they did a 180.

        3. Sullum devoted a lot of his written efforts last year to get Biden into office. This shit was obviously going to happen under a far left presidency.

        4. “…If Reason is going to say what needs to be said that can only be a good thing. It’s not less valuable because they only are just now getting around to saying it.”

          Yeah, admitting Stalin was a mass murderer now is every bit as valuable as doing so when he held power!
          Fucking ignoramus…

      2. They’re worse than “another leftist rag”. They want to sit at the “cool kid’s table” with the mindless leftist rag writers. Reason staffers hang around with other New York / Los Angeles “journalists” and want to be liked. They’re held in contempt by the left, as they should be.

        I’ve been hearing the same “we need a left-right alliance” bullshit for 50 years. What we need is principled advocacy of property rights, something the left will never agree to. There is not, nor has there ever been, a left libertarian because the left does not believe in private property.

        Reason, go back on your snipe hunt for a left libertarian. You’ll find them standing next to the Chupacabra.

  3. Nick insists it’s perfectly fine for government to let corporations do the dirty work of violating the constitution because they are “private companies”

    1. If all they do is let them, then that’s a valid argument. If they are telling them what to do, or strongly implying some kind of sanctions if they don’t do the “right” thing (which seems to be what’s happening), that’s a big problem and pretty definitely illegal.

  4. It’s apparently misinformation that will get you banned on Twitter to mention that the Brits have decided not to make vaccines mandatory for children as there are questions about whether the benefits exceed the risks. Twitter believes they know better than the government of Great Britain, although I’m not sure where they get this idea from.

    1. “Twitter believes they know better than the government of ”

      May or may not be wrong. Mores the pity.

  5. This article seems problematic. Reason told me for months that we had nothing to fear from private companies. They also said for months that Biden was the most libertarian viable presidential candidate. Trump didn’t have this issue and he was the authoritarian, fascist candidate. It seems weird that the libertarian president would wield private companies to suppress the speech when the authoritarian, fascist president did not. Oh well, minor issue. Biden has been outstanding on immigration, tariffs, and the budget so this is all a distraction.

    1. Don’t believe your lying eyes or ears were conveyed for months by the writers here. And then the mask slipped…

  6. Welcome to the party, Sullum.

    1. yeah i was just shocked this is actually a libertarian article from sullum, keep it up man

    2. 10 months after the party ended…

  7. “its avowed respect for freedom of expression”

    Anybody who took that avowed respect seriously after a couple decades of attacks on said freedom is a moron.

    This administration hasn’t engaged in even one attack on our liberties that couldn’t have been predicted in advance by anyone who had been following American politics. They’ve been exactly what you’d expect a modern Democratic administration with a tenuous majority in Congress to be.

    1. The Democrat’s hysterical hatred towards the Citizens United decision should have put to rest any delusion that the Democrats have real respect for the free speech of people who disagree with them.

    2. Name one law or executive order passed that attacks anyone’s freedom to use language.

      1. Hahahahaha, god I love you Tony.

        1. Oh, so you can name one I presume.

  8. Hatred is defined by conflict. Conflict in speech only results from lies.

    By definition, truth cannot ever be misinformation a lie. Truth cannot result in conflict.

    Censorship of truth, whether by making the sharing of irrefutable evidence a crime or by swearing illegal oaths of secrecy is the only way to perpetuate the worlds biggest lies, conspiracies and conflict.

    Free speech is an inalienable right which means that it can’t be taken/censored or given/by oath away.

    1. Rob Misek… Holocaust-denying EXPERT on ALL matters concerning the “Truth”! All Hail!

      1. but you’ll fight to the death for his right to get his message out… right?

      2. or has it been decided that some messages shouldnt be heard.
        ?

      3. isnt this just ACLU 101?… sometimes you must allow people you disagree with to be able to speak. why is that so hard to accept for people.,,, even the aclu now.

        1. And I think SQRLSY strikes the right tone here- let Misek speak, but point out to any newcomers that he is the worst kind of racist, bigoted asshole around.

          1. Ironic coming from sqrlsy

          2. I have provided irrefutable evidence to refute that which I do deny.

            None of you fuckwits has ever refuted my evidence. You can’t refute what you deny.

            I’m only too happy to demonstrate this over and over again.

          3. Were this a court of law, having demonstrated that none of you could refute my evidence, I and the truth win.

          4. Who’s the bigot now?

  9. The administration’s public pressure campaign against COVID-19 “misinformation” cannot be reconciled with its avowed respect for freedom of expression.

    What avowed respect? Plenty of people spoke up when the various social media outlets were summarily banning people for wrong think, and this “avowed respect” was invisible. The left is and always has been just fine with opponents being silenced.

    1. Hopefully this proven disrespect for freedom of expression will become a commonly known, defining characteristic of the Democrats going forward. A self-evident argument of never letting them near power again.

      1. The only people still holding to the claim that the left values freedom of expression are journalists and democrats.

    2. And they don’t even pretend anymore to have much of any respect for free expression.

      1. Sure they do- every time one of their marxist activists gets called out for saying something evil, they are the first to scream “FIRST AMMENDMENT!”

    3. Covid misinformation has gotten untold thousands of people killed.

      How would you feel if it were ISIS tapes on Youtube?

      1. Gov Cuomo killed a bunch of people too and no ones censoring his videos.

      2. Covid misinformation has gotten untold thousands of people killed.

        Both Biden and Harris encouraged skepticism leading to these deaths yet you’ve never criticized them once. Don’t pretend you care about deaths, you only care about deaths you can use to score political points.

        1. Yes, two fine examples of the mishmash of bullshit you people have allowed into your brains.

          1. It’s funny you think reality is controlled by what fits your politics rather than by what actually happened. But that’s the way lefties think. Or don’t I guess.

            https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2021/07/17/im-not-taking-it-heres-a-must-see-compilation-of-joe-biden-and-kamala-harris-spreading-vaccine-skepticism/

            1. I don’t trust any news source without a Pulitzer prize.

              Are you even capable of having independent thoughts? Can you assess what’s going on in the world without politicians, right or left, or their media mouthpieces feeding bullshit into your ears?

              I’m sorry you don’t know what to do about the pandemic despite the clear and simple information from the scientific community. I wouldn’t reproduce if I were you. Children are much more complicated than the CDC home page.

      3. Please show isis tapes so that we can all see their evil acts. Censoring only hides truth, censorship only denies the right to be informed

        1. there may well be legitimate state secrets, but i would bet over 99% of “top secret” stuff should never have been classified as such.

          like i mean, given we have submarines, we should probably keep their locations secret from china, i mean come on right?

  10. “The administration’s public pressure campaign against COVID-19 “misinformation” cannot be reconciled with its avowed respect for freedom of expression.” Sullum’s take.

    For the other view, I refer you to the democratic party platform. There is no part of that platform that shows respect for any freedom.

  11. “The background to this dispute includes an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook that was dismissed last month but may be refiled by the Federal Trade Commission.”

    —-Jacob Sullum

    This is the first time I’ve seen Reason staff acknowledge that the FTC’s antitrust case against Facebook may be about their tolerance for “misinformation” (among other things), and that’s progress. I didn’t start out where I am now on this issue myself, but the evidence kept stacking up.

    It is entirely appropriate for reasonable people to change their minds as more evidence becomes available to support the other side of an argument. Reason staff should be congratulated for changing their minds, and so should any of our regular commenters if they do, likewise, for legitimate reasons.

    Lina Khan was appointed by Joe Biden to be the chair of the FTC, which is suing to break up Facebook on antitrust grounds, and he did so on the “strength” of Khan’s contributions to the House Democrats’ report calling for the breakup of Facebook. Lina Khan coauthored that report (you can see her name on it at the link below), and the report justifies breaking up Facebook with the following statement:

    “In the absence of competition, Facebook’s quality has deteriorated over time, resulting in worse privacy protections for its users and a dramatic rise in misinformation on its platform.”

    —-Lina Khan, et. al., page 14 of 450.

    https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/competition_in_digital_markets.pdf

    The courts were wrong to cite president Trump’s campaign rhetoric as a justification for striking down executive orders that were perfectly constitutional otherwise, but this isn’t one of those situations. The objective of suing to breakup Facebook because of its tolerance for “misinformation” is itself unconstitutional, and whatever else the FTC’s antitrust suit to break up Facebook is about, now that Joe Biden has appointed Lina Khan to chair the FTC while it sues Facebook, that suit is also about controlling “misinformation”.

    1. This is all quite similar to what they did with antitrust to the Hollywood studios during the Red Scare. Eventually, the government was able to break the studio system up, force them to divest their theater chains, and impose a blacklist–forcing the Hollywood studios to effectively deplatform actors, directors, and writers on the basis of their political beliefs and/or their unwillingness to subject their beliefs to government scrutiny by way of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

      The Hollywood blacklists were part of the studios’ capitulation to the pressure put on them by way of antitrust, and it’s hard to imagine a worse example of private companies exercising their First Amendment rights than the Hollywood blacklists, save for Facebook deplatforming users at the insistence of Joe Biden’s White House for disagreeing with the CDC–under threat of being broken up by the FTC for tolerating “misinformation” on their platform.

      Any libertarian who doesn’t want to be caught flat-footed for having supported speech codes for online interaction and Red Scare era censorship–driven by rank intimidation from government–better wake up and smell the coffee. Using the coercive power of government to force social media companies to censor speech and deplatform people is not an excellent example of private companies exercising their property rights and association rights. It’s just a straight up violation of the First Amendment, and it’s the duty of every libertarian to defend the principles of the First Amendment, even when the scumbags whose rights are being violated are communists, social media companies, and anti-vaxxers.

    2. While your generosity to the Reason staff is commendable, no one can pretend to be surprised that the administration is hostile to ideas other than its own. The advent of cancel culture pre-dated Biden’s selection as the Dems’ guy and the left was largely cool with “those people” being silenced. Not once did the candidate or anyone in his camp suggest that this was a bad idea that would lead to worse consequences, and it’s hard to recall anyone on the staff doing much beyond carrying Biden’s water “because Trump.”

      I can applaud someone’s legitimate change of heart, but it’s tough to ascribe that to this bunch.

      1. Lina Khan being appointed to chair at the FTC was an eyeopener, and so were the White House press secretary’s and Biden’s public statements, from over the past few days, openly admitting that they were flagging posts for censorship and individuals for deplatforming.

        Changing positions in public isn’t easy. I didn’t always see things the way I do now. I was persuaded to question some of my assumptions, by people on this website, to look at new facts, and I argued about it with them. Eventually, the evidence and reasoning became such that I felt like I had to change to stay honest.

        There’s no shame in being wrong so long as we’re willing to revise our opinions when the evidence demands it, and I’d encourage the staff at Reason and other commenters who’ve been defending Facebook’s censorship and deplatforming as a function of their property rights to take a hard look at the evidence that has emerged over the past week.

        There are people on this website who don’t care whether they’re wrong or right, don’t care about facts and logic, and who can’t be persuaded to change their minds. There’s something terribly wrong with that. I mute them because they aren’t ashamed of themselves.

        1. Perhaps they could have a sit down with Soave, who thinks that the Trump team’s argument (which basically mirrors Sullum’s above) is an “absurd farce”.

          https://reason.com/2021/07/07/trump-class-action-lawsuit-facebook-twitter-youtube/#comments

        2. Still seems to be the problem is not FB censoring but the government threatening action if it doesn’t. If there were no threats coming from the administration then I would have to say FB has every right to censor content on its own site.

    3. I just realized that “misinformation” is a substitute for “protestors”.

  12. Tell me- how is this at all different from Trump telling everyone to not believe a single thing the “media” says?

    I don’t disagree with the premise of your argument- I just find it funny how it seems to be a huge deal only when a Dem is in office. I don’t remember such consternation when Trump was doing this daily for 4 years. Be consistent at least. A tall task for you, I know.

    1. how is this at all different from Trump telling everyone to not believe a single thing the “media” says?
      For starters, nothing else happened after Trump talked. You’re actually equating a president calling bullshit and another president using the weight of govt to silence ideas?

    2. He wasn’t colluding with media to suppress contrary information, shitlunches.

    3. You don’t understand. Our authoritarian is always right, their authoritarian is always wrong!

      This isn’t about protecting the First Amendment, this is about who gets to take a steaming shit on the corpse of the First Amendment. One group wants Trump to be the Dutch Oven in Chief, the other wants Biden to do the honors. Neither sides gives a shit your your freedom or mine.

      1. “You don’t understand. Our authoritarian is always right, their authoritarian is always wrong!”

        One more LYING TDS-addled asshole checks in.

      2. Way to completely misrepresent anyone here who dares to disagree with you.

    4. “Tell me- how is this at all different from Trump telling everyone to not believe a single thing the “media” says?…”

      Give that you’re a TDS-addled piece of lefty shit, why would anyone waste time explaining the obvious?

    5. And if Biden was just telling people to watch out for bad information on Facebook, or even pointing to specific things they thing are misinformation, that would be fine. Telling the companies what, specifically, they should be censoring is a whole different thing.

      1. I doubt that logic is sufficient to over-ride Brandy’s or Raspberry’s raging cases of TDS, do you?
        Justifying their idiocy is far too important!

    6. If you can’t tell the difference between the president telling people not to believe something and another president telling a company which posts to delete and which individuals to deplatform, then youy should give the First Amendment another look. Suffice it to say, one of them doesn’t violate anyone’s rights and the other one does.

    7. When Trump criticized the media, it was “literally an attack on our democracy” and muh orange hitler.

      Biden admits to censorship and we got crickets.

      1. We get worse than crickets. We get people like Brandy saying that Trump was shitting on the first amendment.

        Even though the media has been proven to be complete and utter garbage, was shown to be actively colluding with the DNC (during the primaries to shut down Bernie, then pushing Trump to help Hillary get elected, then sharing debate questions with the Hillary campaign). Oh, and the tiny little fact that the “Main Stream Media” does not represent the whole of the fucking press.

    8. Was Trump telling media companies to censor information or face legal action? Not sure how your example is analogous at all.

  13. Democrats DON’T respect the U.S. Constitution.

    So why would anyone think they have any respect for freedom of expression, speech or anything else.

    Sell your soul to the [WE] foundation; because you don’t own you,, [WE] own you!

  14. Whatever the perceived “harm” some idiots on FB or Twitter or whatever MIGHT do, it is nothing compared to what the government COULD do and WOULD do, given half a chance.

      1. I stand corrected.

  15. Is Biden saying that when politicians lie they can be charged with murder?

    1. Interesting. That could change the political landscape quite a bit, as in, the landscape would be completely free of politicians. I can think of worse things.

      1. Except that like laws against rioting such laws will only be enforced against the right. Left wingers will be ignored when possible, or bailed out and then have their charges dropped when not.

      2. The silence from the mainstream media on Biden’s alarming stupidity is deafening.

        A stark contrast from 4 years of incessant 24/7 anti Trump rhetoric.

  16. > Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it.

    This is such bunk. We not NPCs totally lacking in agency. We can make our own decisions. Just you or I or that guy over there reads something on Facebook does not mean we believe it and act on it. In terms of vaccinations, literally NO ONE reads a Facebook post and says “gosh, I’ve been wrong all the time”.

    This is the same bullshit thinking that leads people to think Russia stole the election from Hillary with just a few well placed cheesy Facebook ads. This is how little respect Democrat leaders have for Democrat voters, to think that a cheesy advert about Jesus not liking Hillary is going to flip their vote. People who believed that already believed that and weren’t going to vote for Hillary anyway. The Russian ads didn’t magically program their brains.

    Ditto for vaccinations. One doesn’t become an anti-vaxxer because they see a post on Facebook. They are already anti-vaxxers or already prone to anti-vaxxer thought.

    It takes a concerted misinformation campaign to slowly sway someone’s mind over into uncertainty. But Facebook is already not allowing concerted misinformation campaigns. It’s why 1/6 nutters got blocked and silenced. They were engaged in a semi-organized campaign to spread deliberate misinformation.

    But I don’t see an deliberate campaign of vaccine information. Doesn’t mean there isn’t one, but if there is then the algorithm is filtering it out. But regardless, pressuring Facebook into compliance with Biden’s wishes is just playing footsie with an outright violation of the First Amendment.

    1. “But Facebook is already not allowing concerted misinformation campaigns.”

      Except that Facebook has not only allowed massive amounts of misinformation by left wing Democrats (e.g. covid didn’t come from the Whuhan lab, covid infections don’t create natural immunity, lockdowns and mask mandates protected public health, Hunter Biden’s laptop was a Russian conspiracy hoax, and increased violence against Asians by blacks was caused by Trump calling covid the Chinese flu), but Facebook has blocked/censored posts (and posters) who truthfully exposed these left wing Democrat lies.

    2. This is the same bullshit thinking that leads people to think Russia stole the election from Hillary with just a few well placed cheesy Facebook ads.

      It’s interesting left wingers who pretend to be liberals never made this point when it was ongoing. But now that the issue is no longer relevant they publicize their support to recover their lost credibility.

      It’s why 1/6 nutters got blocked and silenced. They were engaged in a semi-organized campaign to spread deliberate misinformation.

      Of course this is also true of “antifa” [really: fa]. They are the end result of a decades long misinformation campaign devised and executed specifically to create reliably left wing voters. But of course no one on the left cares about this misinformation because they support the outcome.

  17. >>cannot be reconciled with its avowed respect for freedom of expression

    neither can accepting money in exchange for writing politics and believing what politicians tell you.

  18. We warned you all last year, and you pimped this guy over the incumbent. Too bad.

    1. Yeah, Sullum of all people, needs to have his face smeared with this on a daily basis.
      They got what they wanted and deserve; we got what we did NOT want.

      1. why Sullum “of all people”? He wasn’t really shilling for Biden, he did not vote for him, and he was pretty skeptical of the lockdown/pandemic pantomiming.

        1. He ran the ‘orange man bad’ daily column for months leading up to the election, any and all ‘transgressions’ we’re just fine.

    2. Trump wasn’t any better about this stuff. Choosing one over the other is just fooling yourself.

      1. In fairness, he only wanted to take away the freedoms of people who didn’t support him.

      2. I’m guessing sarc.

  19. Christ, what an asshole.

  20. These are the same people they say banning CRT propaganda in public school violates the first amendment, right?

    1. Looks like government banning speech to me.

      1. Government speech isn’t protected.

      2. To sentient beings it is banning discrimination.

  21. It grows even more enraging looking back on how nobody, and I mean nobody, could criticize the Iraq war on mainstream media, even though it was an outrageous unjustified invasion based entirely on a lie.

    Anyone who criticized that action on TV got canceled. Cancel culture isn’t a new thing. It’s just that the people who are accustomed to doing the canceling are feeling a slight hint of a taste of it themselves, except not by the government this time, by fucking randos on Twitter.

    If the Biden administration wanted to match Republican cancel culture in scope, not a single person spreading anti-vaccine death cult lies would even be allowed to speak on cable news, let alone have an entire channel dedicated to it.

      1. I’d bet money you called for the canceling of the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore at the time.

        They don’t count!!! They should be canceled they suck!!1!

        1. I’d bet money you called for the canceling of the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore at the time.

          I don’t know of any Republican, conservative, or libertarian who has called for prohibiting the Dixie Chicks and Michael Moore from using social media or appearing on cable news.

          All we are saying: don’t give these idiots or businesses that support these idiots your money.

    1. I mean nobody, could criticize the Iraq war on mainstream media, even though it was an outrageous unjustified invasion based entirely on a lie.

      Quite right, it was! And Biden and Clinton were fully behind it. So were the neocon jerks who invaded the Republican party. It’s progressives and neocons who are in bed with the media.

  22. Sadly, the precedent for this bull$hit has already been set. Way back in the 90’s, the government strong-armed sitcom creators to put in their PSA messages into their shows (if you’re old enough to remember the Home Improvement episode where Brad got caught having a stash of weed, yep, that was in part because of the government).

    We also have Hollywood take money from the US military when they do war movies; but that usually results in more pro US military messages. Then there’s the NFL and so forth.

    There are ways for the government to use its soft power if they cant do what they want directly.

    1. Both Republicans and Democrats have been using propaganda ever since the early 20th century. You can thank Bernays and the progressive movement for this.

      It is only now that the Republican party is slowly leaving the progressive consensus, and that’s what’s causing all the tearing of hair and rending of clothes among Democrats and “traditional” Republicans.

  23. This is obvious. Democrats have been subverting free speech for a long time through political correctness, hate speech laws, and now this. They have largely succeeded in getting society to self-censor, except online.

    1. Not to mention their absolute hatred of the Citizens United decision.

    2. It’s not Democrats, it’s progressives. Their credo for more than a century has been this:

      The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. (E.O. Bernays)

      Both Democrats and many Republicans have subscribed to this progressive belief system for more than a century.

  24. I believe there may be some unfortunate assumptions going around…

    No one in the administration said this mission was limited to Covid-19 misinformation – or a dozen offenders at a time either.
    Ps: after I post this, if you don’t see me again, have a nice life…

  25. “The administration’s public pressure campaign against COVID-19 “misinformation” cannot be reconciled with its avowed respect for freedom of expression.”

    It can be, as long as the federal government was leaving the tech sector alone. Biden has just as much of a 1st amendment right to whine about “misinformation” as others have to post it. The real problem is that a lot of the actions being taken now are explicitly stated as being motivated by trying to quell misinformation. This is absolutely wrong and it makes such reconciliation impossible.

    “It also includes Biden’s opposition to a federal law that shields online platforms from liability for content posted by users”

    I still don’t understand how getting rid of section 230 is supposed to do anything about misinformation. Misinformation isn’t illegal. So making platforms liable for it is irrelevant. Tabloids making absurd claims have existed for longer than the Internet has existed; and they are the bone fide publishers of the rubbish they print.

    “automatically ban users whose accounts have been suspended on other platforms;”

    Sounds like collusion to me…

    1. Misinformation isn’t illegal. So making platforms liable for it is irrelevant. Tabloids making absurd claims have existed for longer than the Internet has existed; and they are the bone fide publishers of the rubbish they print.

      Legality isn’t the standard, civil liability is. Tabloids are routinely sued and occasionally lose for what they publish.

      1. They lose when they cross over into no shit libel. Usually at least.

      2. Tabloids can be sued for libel, not for other forms of false statements.

  26. ‘Biden thinks those “12 people” should be banished from social media.’

    Actually trying to do this vs just political blather (what this appears to be) would make Biden a bigger monster than Trump ever was. And “automatically ban users whose accounts have been suspended on other platforms” is right out of the communist playbook.

    I’m pretty sure that every modern president in the White House has help spread plenty of misinformation, and that every president has gotten plenty of people killed though such misinformation (or directly–something Obama and Bush were good at).

    The bulk of left-dominated media purport to be arbitrators of truth (AP, NY Times, WaPo, Wikipedia, Snopes, ABC, CNN, etc, etc, etc) but only with the Democrat party’s version of “truth.” We basically have Pravda times a thousand. How much does any sensible person trust the Democrats to arbitrate “disinformation” properly?

    A party-hack president who believes only his party holds the truth is as dangerous as Stalin or Mao.

  27. Avowed:
    a·vowed
    /əˈvoud/
    adjective
    that has been asserted, admitted, or stated publicly.

    It is good to assume that what is asserted, admitted, or stated publicly by the “ruling elite” today is wholesale horseshit.

    Most of these so called leaders really are awful human beings. How did we get here? Has it always been this way?

  28. Hopefully this will wake up more Republicans to stop being the left’s useful idiots and support Section 230.

  29. “Biden Is Trying to Impose Online Censorship by Proxy”

    Why would he have to impose censorship after his investiture? Online censorship helped get him installed in the White House. It was fully implemented by 2019 and has been improved since.

  30. When will this corona virus finished their job and went to hell?

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  31. Breaking news: our elected officials are full of shit.

  32. That a mask is better than a vaccine is disinformation.

  33. Another article mentions Senator Amy Klobuchar proposing exceptions to Section 230 so internet companies can be sued for misinformation – but I did not see specific mention of Covid – so if it is not limited to Covid, we can be sure of seeing claims like misinformation about transsexuals harmed them – so they can sue Facebook if Facebook let’s the “misinformation” stay up. DItto for AIDS or any other opinion which could have some effect on health.

  34. Biden Is Trying to Impose Online Censorship by Proxy
    The administration’s public pressure campaign against COVID-19 “misinformation” cannot be reconciled with its avowed respect for freedom of expression.

    Libertarian moment! Don’t you love your shiny new Biden administration, Reason?

    Thanks, Reason, too, for defending Section 230, which gives government a cudgel to beat social media into submission with!

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