In a nutshell: Leaked emails show that at least 45 officials from the White House, FBI, CDC, DHS, and several other federal executive agencies have pressured Twitter, Meta, and YouTube to engage in censorship. Most of the emails focused on the government’s goals for suppressing COVID-19 and vaccine “misinformation.”
What the conversations show: The government regularly informed the companies of content that needed censoring, warned them to uphold their content policies, and arranged meetings with employees to discuss strategies for stopping “misinformation.”
"I wanted to make sure you saw the steps we took just this past week to adjust policies on what we are removing with respect to misinformation, as well as steps taken to further address the 'disinfo dozen,'”
said a Meta executive to the Department of Health and Human Services.
How the emails were exposed: In May, Republican attorneys generals sued the Biden administration, alleging that it directly pressured social media companies to suppress free speech and violated social media users’ First Amendment rights. The court then ordered the companies to release documentation of their conversations with the government.
There’s a lot to grasp in this story. It’s clearer than ever that Big Tech platforms aren’t acting freely as private sector entities but as tools of the U.S. government. The state routinely compels them to conceal public information and restrict speech that would otherwise be protected under the Constitution. Now, this collusion is being brought to court for the first time. The outcome of the case will have profound implications for free speech in America.