by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Twitter Files have provided stunning confirmation of a Deep State-Big Tech conspiracy to censor ideas and individuals deemed harmful to their shared ends — from protecting Joe Biden’s candidacy for president to draconian COVID-19 lockdowns — under the pretext of national security or public health.
But Twitter was far from the only platform with the motive and means to purge dissenting voices from establishment orthodoxy. Nor was it the only such platform with a “Trust and Safety” (read: “censorship”) team helmed by former US intelligence officials, which met regularly with their former security-state employers to combat “misinformation” in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Take Facebook. Since 2016, it has embraced a “content moderation” scheme called “Remove, Reduce, Inform” to address “problematic” content.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, as demanded by the Biden administration, Facebook employed the scheme to suppress and counter content violative of the Anthony Fauci party line.
Aaron Berman, Facebook’s misinformation policy chief, described how the company relied on purportedly independent but reliably progressive fact-checkers to flag COVID “misinformation” during an August 2021 Stanford University-convened conference on America’s “INFODEMIC.”
Facebook would remove such content, limit its reach into users’ feeds algorithmically and/or slap warning labels on it featuring links to “authoritative information” in a bid, for example, to combat “vaccine hesitancy” — which would also trigger its algorithm to reduce distribution.
Berman also describes “Minority Report”-like “predictive” AI tools that Facebook leveraged to determine questionable content likely to go viral for targeting.
Facebook removed pages, groups and accounts that repeatedly featured such content.
As with many Twitter officials involved in content-moderation decisions, Berman had been a 17-plus-year employee of the CIA, where among other things he wrote and edited the President’s Daily Brief. Ex-intelligence officials from the CIA, FBI, DHS, and beyond fill Facebook’s trust and safety team ranks.