by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Last year, the Biden administration caved to public outcry and disbanded its infamous Disinformation Governance Board under its “Disinformation Nanny,” Nina Jankowicz. Yet, as explored in a recent hearing, … the Biden administration never told the public about a far larger censorship effort involving an estimated 80 FBI agents secretly targeting citizens and groups for disinformation.
Now it appears that the administration also was partially funding an “index” to warn advertisers to avoid what the index deemed to be dangerous disinformation sites. It turns out that all ten of the “riskiest” sites identified by the Global Disinformation Index are popular with conservatives, libertarians and independents.
The index, run by a British organization, appears to be an effort to score and sanction sites based on their “reliability” to those in the political and media establishments.
That sounds like a knockoff of China’s “social credit” system which scores its citizens, based in part on social media monitoring.
Clearly, the administration never abandoned its intent to fund and field efforts to curtail speech on the internet — with the support of many in the media and academia. In an Atlantic article in 2020, for example, Harvard Law School professor Jack Goldsmith and University of Arizona law professor Andrew Keane Woods declared that “in the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong.” They concluded that “significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with society norms and values.”
Despite fierce opposition from Democrats in Congress, Twitter continues to release evidence of a comprehensive effort by FBI agents to coordinate the banning or suspensions of people accused of disinformation, including people who were clearly joking.