May 6, 2024 – FBI confirms it’s restarting online censorship efforts ahead of 2024 election

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On Monday, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told reporters that federal agencies such as the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) restarted discussions with Big Tech platforms. According to NextGov/FCW, this coordination will focus on “removing disinformation on their sites as the November presidential election nears.” Warner claimed these talks resumed in March, around the same time oral arguments in Murthy v. Missouri — which centers on the feds’ censorship efforts — were heard before the U.S. Supreme Court.

When pressed on the validity of Warner’s remarks, an FBI representative confirmed to The Federalist that the agency has resumed communications with social media companies ahead of the 2024 election.

“The FBI remains committed to combatting foreign malign influence operations, including in connection with our elections. That effort includes sharing specific foreign threat information with state and local election officials and private sector companies when appropriate and rigorously consistent with the law,” the representative claimed. “In coordination with the Department of Justice, the FBI recently implemented procedures to facilitate sharing information about foreign malign influence with social media companies in a way that reinforces that private companies are free to decide on their own whether and how to take action on that information.”

CISA Logo (Credit: public domain)

Jen Easterly (Credit: Wikipedia)

CISA External Affairs Specialist Tess Hyre declined The Federalist’s request for comment on whether the agency has resumed discussions with social media companies to combat what it claims to be “disinformation,” but she said that CISA Director Jen Easterly will be participating in an “Election Security” hearing in “the coming weeks.”

Neither the FBI nor CISA responded when pressed on when they restarted communications with social media companies on efforts to remove posts containing so-called “disinformation” from their platforms. The FBI and CISA did not identify the specific companies they’re working with on such efforts. Neither agency provided an answer when questioned on how they determine what constitutes “disinformation” or what other federal agencies they are collaborating with in these efforts to have “disinformation” removed from social media platforms.

The issue of government-compelled censorship is front and center in Murthy v. Missouri, a case before SCOTUS focused on allegations from Missouri and Louisiana that the federal government’s pressuring of social media companies to censor free speech online constitutes a violation of the First Amendment. U.S. District Court Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction in July 2023 barring federal agencies from colluding with Big Tech to censor posts they don’t like. In his ruling, Doughty wrote, “If the allegations made by Plaintiffs are true, the present case arguably involves the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history.” (Read more: The Federalist, 5/08/2024)  (Archive)