Facebook created a censorship portal for the federal government to request takedowns of web content, lawsuit reveals
Facebook Created Censorship Portal for Federal Government to Request Takedowns of Web Content
Robert Romano with Daily Torch reports:
Records obtained in a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the FBI and other federal agencies for censorship have revealed a formalized process for government agents to flag content on Facebook for moderation and takedowns deemed disinformation, an Oct. 31 report from the Intercept’s Ken Klippenstein and Lee Fang shows.
The instructions, a document guiding government agents to log into the censorship app, require a government email address and once credentialed, lead officials to the web address that includes the word “xtakedowns”: (Archived here.)
If you travel there now, users are told, “Facebook Content Requests… Request Secure Access to the Facebook Content Requests System… This portal is for onboarded partner requests pertaining to content issues on Facebook and Instagram. If you are an onboarded partner, please put in your request through this portal… Request Access…”
According to a draft DHS Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, the department has ongoing operations to target “inaccurate information” on topics including “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.” Since these all pertain to government policies, the content in question is unquestionably all political speech, protected by the First Amendment.
While government agencies can distribute information to the public and private sector — this is what federal department and agency public affairs offices do every day under the government speech legal doctrine whose applications have been limited by the Supreme Court — directing private sector entities like Facebook to remove user content because the government disagreed with the content, is not only flagrantly unconstitutional, it is seemingly without precedent.
And American citizens have a right to comment on all of those matters, write articles and share them on social media including Facebook to their hearts’ content without fear of government interference. Or at least we thought we did.