The U.S. State Department proactively marketed online censorship tools funded by the government to Big Tech firms in the run-up to the 2020 election, disclosures show.
The so-called “disinfo cloud” project was exposed by disclosures in the First Amendment lawsuit that has been brought up against the Brandon Administration. It was marketed through the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), which means Americans were footing the bill for this major censorship campaign.
In an introduction email to LinkedIn revealed by the lawsuit, then-senior advisor for the GEC, Samaruddin Stewart wrote that he was “tasked with building relationships with technology companies” and asked for a meeting. He also suggested he would be contacting other social media firms to discuss “countering disinformation.”
In a follow-up email to employees of LinkedIn after the meeting, he wrote: “I’ll send information… about gaining access to Disinfo Cloud — which is a GEC funded platform that offers stakeholders an opportunity to discover companies, technology, and tools that can assist with identifying, understanding, and addressing disinformation.”
This is just one of many revelations from the lawsuit alleging the Brandon Administration infringed the First Amendment by working with tech firms to censor Americans.
Government also funded organization that blacklisted conservative media outlets
The GEC also helped to provide funding for the Global Disinformation Index (GDI). This British organization is known for blacklisting conservative media outlets by claiming they spread misinformation and seeks to convince online advertisers to sever ties with publications and websites whose political messages it disagrees with.
An investigation by the Washington Examiner revealed that the National Endowment for Democracy, a nonprofit that was given $330 million worth of taxpayer money from the State Department, gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to the GDI.
This goes directly against the First Amendment, which prohibits the American government from censoring private businesses. The GDI’s list of media outlets to avoid includes The Washington Examiner, Newsmax, The Federalist, The American Spectator, The Blaze, The Daily Wire, the New York Post and other outlets. The Washington Examiner said that it has lost advertising revenue as a result of the GDI.
It should come as no surprise which online news outlets the GDI considers low-risk; the Washington Post, the New York Times, NPR, BuzzFeed News and HuffPost are just a few of the names on the list. It’s worth noting that these publications do not have a stellar track record. For example, HuffPost insisted on multiple occasions that the famous Hunter Brandon laptop story in the New York Post was a case of Russian misdirection, even though the story has been proven true.
The House Oversight Committee has questioned the use of taxpayer money to censor conservative outlets on the pretense of fighting “disinformation.” Chairman James Comer (R-Ky) wrote a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken stating that the agency is being investigated over the British Global Disinformation Institute blacklisting conservative news sites after receiving $330,000 from the department.
He wrote: “The Committee is disturbed by recent reporting that taxpayer money ended up in the hands of a foreign organization running an advertising blacklist of organizations accused of hosting disinformation on their websites, including several conservative-leaning news organizations.”
According to Comer, lawmakers are concerned about this and other so-called “misinformation” campaigns carried out by the Brandon Administration, who have been working on censoring topics ranging from COVID-19 to the Afghanistan withdrawal.
Elon Musk, who gained insight into government censorship and collusion with Big Tech when he took ownership of Twitter, characterized the GEC as the “worst offender in US government censorship & media manipulation.”
Sources for this article include: