Apparently, the Biden White House had no idea the can of worms they’d opened when they made two big announcements last week, one of which was revealing their plans to censor text messages for supposed COVID vaccine “misinformation,” and with the other being that they had a team in the Surgeon General’s office that was “flagging problematic [COVID] posts for Facebook” to review and possibly take action over.
Since that time, they’ve been peppered with questions about the latter from reporters, including Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy, who last Friday cornered Psaki on the Facebook flagging issue by making a larger point about how the science sometimes evolves and that things from last year that were flagged by Facebook as misinformation are now considered plausible and okay to post (like the speculation over the origins of COVID). “Is there any concern that the things you are trying to block or have taken down might some day turn out to be [accurate]?” he asked her Friday. She defaulted to the “we all have a responsibility to save lives” answer instead of directly answering the question.
During today’s press briefing, Psaki again got questions on the issue from a number of reporters, but perhaps the one that caused her to dig a deeper hole was this one:
Reporter: “Will the White House publicly release information on posts that it considers misinformation on vaccines that it’s asked Facebook to block?”
Jen Psaki: “First of all, we’ve not asked Facebook to block any individual posts. The way this works is that there are trending — there are trends that are out there on social media platforms. You’re aware of them. We’re aware of them. Anyone in the public can be aware of them.
There’s also data that we look at that many media platforms, like many of you, also look at data in terms of trends and you report on it, which is not — to be expected, given the number of people who get their information from social media.
It’s up to social media platforms to determine what their application is of their own rules and regulations. And so we just certainly raise where we have concerns about information that’s inaccurate that is traveling out there in whatever platform it’s traveling on.”
Like she did Friday with Doocy, Psaki put government officials flagging what they say is publicly available information on Facebook in the same boat as members of the mainstream media who flag social media trends in their reporting, again apparently hoping people don’t understand that there is a difference between the press doing investigative work and reporting on alleged misinformation that was posted on social media versus the federal government trawling the same sites for posts by private citizens and then reporting them with a nudge nudge, wink wink to Facebook in order to pressure the Big Tech giants into action.
Further, the fallback answer of “we’ve not asked Facebook to block any individual posts” just doesn’t cut it. Facebook has been under enormous pressure from Democrats over the last five years to drop the hammer on posts they consider “misinformation” (going back to the 2016 election) and Facebook has obliged them to a large extent, primarily because their goals are very similar to those of their Democratic masters: Control the flow of information by suppressing conservative voices and amplifying liberal ones.
The White House suggesting they are merely alerting Facebook to alleged problematic posts and leaving it up to them to decide what to do about them is, to put it charitably, highly disingenuous. What the Biden administration is doing here is using the full weight of the federal government to bear down on social media companies to act on the reports they get from the flaggers in the Surgeon General’s office in hopes Facebook will take action to censor content posted by private citizens they find objectionable, all under the guise of “having the responsibility to save lives.”
If this is not the Big Brother mindset playing out in real-time, I don’t know what is. That should scare the hell out of all people, Republicans, Democrats, and everyone in between. So should the fact that every time the Biden White House gets asked about this issue, they unapologetically double down as though they think there is absolutely nothing wrong with what they’re doing.