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White House dodges question about Biden shutting down Twitter

'We need to — you know, we need to — to, you know, call out hate speech and misinformation'

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Yudi Sherman

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December 01, 2022

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05:55 AM

White House dodges question about Biden shutting down Twitter

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Wednesday would neither confirm nor deny that the Biden administration would try to shut down Twitter if the content becomes too antithetical to its agenda. 

Jean-Pierre's answer came in response to a question by Fox News White House Correspondent Peter Doocy. 

“When you say that you’re going to be monitoring some of the speech on [Twitter], if you see something that you don’t like, would you try to shut Twitter down?” Doocy asked. 

Jean-Pierre stammered in trying to avoid the question. 

“So, look, you know, when you — when you talk about monitoring, you know, it is — I hate to break it to you, Peter: Just like everybody else, we very much monitor the news,” she responded. “We pay close attention to everything that you all are reporting, and — and Twitter is in the news a lot. And so that’s what we’re paying attention to. We’re paying attention to what is in the news and what is being reported on — on the misinformation that’s out there.” 

The press secretary then cited Leftist groups unhappy with the free speech on Twitter to suggest that it’s riddled with “hate speech and misinformation.” 

“Let’s not forget there’s groups like NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and the public health leaders have been very vocal about their concerns as well.” 

“So, yes, we are reading what you all are writing, and looking at what you all are reporting about the misinformation that is out there,” she continued. “But, you know, I would hope that all Americans, including social media companies, civil rights organizations, as I just laid out, including Fox as well, will agree that we need to — you know, we need to — to, you know, call out hate speech and misinformation.” 

Since Elon Musk assumed ownership of Twitter, the Biden administration has lost one of its most effective tools in censoring opposition to its agenda.  

A lawsuit brought against Twitter in August by journalist Alex Berenson revealed the White House pressured the social media platform to ban Berenson for his anti-COVID-19 vaccine remarks. 

In June, a leaked memo from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) whistleblowers revealed plans by the DHS to collude with Twitter in rooting out disinformation. Office of Strategy, Policy, and Plans Under Secretary Robert Silvers had a meeting scheduled for April 28, 2022, with Twitter’s Head of Policy Nick Pickles and Head of Site Integrity Yoel Roth, who publicly referred to President Donald Trump and his administration as “ACTUAL NAZIS”. The meeting was to enlist the social media giant’s help in the fight against "mis-, dis- and mal-information”. 

A recent report published by The Intercept revealed that tech companies have been meeting monthly with Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials to discuss censoring speech unapproved by the government.  

Before the 2020 election, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, Discord, Wikipedia, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Verizon Media met monthly with the FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and other officials.  

Under the pretext of “combating misinformation,” the government has been working with tech companies to restrict speech surrounding “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.”

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