WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposed Disinformation Governance Board (DGB) to police election-related disinformation being put on the back burner earlier this year due to its perceived “Orwellian” oversteps, reports indicate that the agency is still quietly working towards that same controversial goal.
Originally, the Biden Administration announced in April the formation of the DGB, with its stated purpose being to seek out so-called “fake news” related to the upcoming November midterm elections, leading some to speculate that the move was done directly to combat a potentially censorship-free Twitter – by now current – owner Elon Musk.
Due to backlash, however, Nina Jankowicz – who had been appointed to head the DGB – announced her resignation after the board was reportedly placed “on hold” amid free speech concerns just three weeks after it had been formed; DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas would later completely dissolve the DGB in August.
However, new reports indicate that both the DHS and FBI have been working a pressure campaign on numerous private companies and social media platforms to essentially take on the role that the DGB would have served. Thousands of social media posts and accounts have been reported by the government to their respective platforms as “election misinformation” with demands for their removal, which typically has taken place.
For example, in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, the government is said to have reported 4,800 social media posts, with one-third of that number either being removed or labeled as “potential misinformation.”
And while examples of legitimate misinformation – much of it from foreign government agents attempting to influence the outcome of the election – was indeed included in that number, there are also examples of infringement on legitimate free speech and journalistic integrity as well.
A prime example of that is The New York Post’s story of Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop from hell, which was initially discredited by The New York Times and other media outlets as purportedly being full of “false information,” and that the contents of the hard drive had likely been tampered with as part of a Russian information operation to harm the election chances of Joe Biden.
The Post’s Twitter account was even temporarily suspended after tweeting out the offending article; however, the naysayers were later forced to eat crow when the New York Post later proved that the laptop story was, in fact, completely true.
While combating election disinformation is important, it’s equally important not to get real news and information swept up in the net as well.