Truth Cops: Leaked Documents Outline DHS Plan To Police Disinformation (1 Viewer)

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    SaintForLife

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    THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found. Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms.

    The work, much of which remains unknown to the American public, came into clearer view earlier this year when DHS announced a new “Disinformation Governance Board”: a panel designed to police misinformation (false information spread unintentionally), disinformation (false information spread intentionally), and malinformation (factual information shared, typically out of context, with harmful intent) that allegedly threatens U.S. interests. While the board was widely ridiculed, immediately scaled back, and then shut down within a few months, other initiatives are underway as DHS pivots to monitoring social media now that its original mandate — the war on terror — has been wound down.

    Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the U.S. government has used its power to try to shape online discourse. According to meeting minutes and other records appended to a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican who is also running for Senate, discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information.

    “Platforms have got to get comfortable with gov’t. It’s really interesting how hesitant they remain,” Microsoft executive Matt Masterson, a former DHS official, texted Jen Easterly, a DHS director, in February.

    In a March meeting, Laura Dehmlow, an FBI official, warned that the threat of subversive information on social media could undermine support for the U.S. government. Dehmlow, according to notes of the discussion attended by senior executives from Twitter and JPMorgan Chase, stressed that “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.”

    Key Takeaways
    • Though DHS shuttered its controversial Disinformation Governance Board, a strategic document reveals the underlying work is ongoing.
    • DHS plans to target inaccurate information on “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.”
    • Facebook created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report disinformation directly.


    -The work is primarily done by CISA, a DHS sub-agency tasked with protecting critical national infrastructure.

    -DHS, the FBI, and several media entities are having biweekly meetings as recently as August.
    DHS considered countering disinformation relating to content that undermines trust in financial systems and courts.

    -The FBI agent who primed social media platforms to take down the Hunter Biden laptop story continued to have a role in DHS policy discussions.

    ...In retrospect, the New York Post reporting on the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 election provides an elucidating case study of how this works in an increasingly partisan environment.

    Much of the public ignored the reporting or assumed it was false, as over 50 former intelligence officials charged that the laptop story was a creation of a “Russian disinformation” campaign. The mainstream media was primed by allegations of election interference in 2016 — and, to be sure, Trump did attempt to use the laptop to disrupt the Biden campaign. Twitter ended up banning links to the New York Post’s report on the contents of the laptop during the crucial weeks leading up to the election. Facebook also throttled users’ ability to view the story.

    In recent months, a clearer picture of the government’s influence has emerged.

    In an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast in August, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook had limited sharing of the New York Post’s reporting after a conversation with the FBI. “The background here is that the FBI came to us — some folks on our team — and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election,’” Zuckerberg told Rogan. The FBI told them, Zuckerberg said, that “‘We have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump.’” When the Post’s story came out in October 2020, Facebook thought it “fit that pattern” the FBI had told them to look out for.

    Zuckerberg said he regretted the decision, as did Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter at the time. Despite claims that the laptop’s contents were forged, the Washington Post confirmed that at least some of the emails on the laptop were authentic. The New York Times authenticated emails from the laptop — many of which were cited in the original New York Post reporting from October 2020 — that prosecutors have examined as part of the Justice Department’s probe into whether the president’s son violated the law on a range of issues, including money laundering, tax-related offenses, and foreign lobbying registration.

    Documents filed in federal court as part of a lawsuit by the attorneys general of Missouri and Louisiana add a layer of new detail to Zuckerberg’s anecdote, revealing that officials leading the push to expand the government’s reach into disinformation also played a quiet role in shaping the decisions of social media giants around the New York Post story.

     
    I guess the Democrats are correct when they say our Democracy is at risk. Did they realize the threat to our democracy comes from their own party? This kind of censorship is exactly what you would see in authoritarian governments. I figured this was going on, but its worse than I imagined.

    It also explains why the media and the Democrats have been freaking out about Musk. They just lost control over the censorship of Twitter.
     
    I'm trying to decide between gifs...crickets or "hello?!? Is this thing on?"

    Tough decision.
     
    This is something that has been talked about for years. I dont see it as a partisan thing. All levels of government function better when proper, factual information comes out. Imagine the chaos or damage that could be done if people or bots start sharing incorrect hurricane evactuation info, or other emergency misinformation, like during wild fires, war, etc.

    However, I do think outright censorship is a muddy situation. Better to do the whole, "consumer reports of info" approach some security experts have touted.
     
    Oh, and Lee is incorrect in stating that DHS was only about counter terrorism.

    The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the U.S. federal executive department responsible for public security, roughly comparable to the interior or home ministries of other countries. Its stated missions involve anti-terrorism, border security, immigration and customs, cyber security, and disaster prevention and management.[
     
    I guess the Democrats are correct when they say our Democracy is at risk. Did they realize the threat to our democracy comes from their own party? This kind of censorship is exactly what you would see in authoritarian governments. I figured this was going on, but its worse than I imagined.

    It also explains why the media and the Democrats have been freaking out about Musk. They just lost control over the censorship of Twitter.

    No one can say you aren't persistent. I guess bringing up the patriot act, or Trump's overt threats to U.S. business and individuals, or people storming the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow legitimate elections, will have no effect to you.

    Also no effect, bringing up the fact that there is an issue with foreign agents and crazies disseminating dangerous misinformation on different platforms that gullible people believe.

    Last, I don't think you understand what actual censorship looks like in countries ruled by authoritarian governments.
     
    Someone needs to be policing disinformation.

    Glad DHS is going to start doing their job.
     
    This is something that has been talked about for years. I dont see it as a partisan thing. All levels of government function better when proper, factual information comes out. Imagine the chaos or damage that could be done if people or bots start sharing incorrect hurricane evactuation info, or other emergency misinformation, like during wild fires, war, etc.

    However, I do think outright censorship is a muddy situation. Better to do the whole, "consumer reports of info" approach some security experts have touted.
    I'm confused by your post. Are you for the censorship that's been taking place under the Biden Administration or against it?
     
    No one can say you aren't persistent. I guess bringing up the patriot act, or Trump's overt threats to U.S. business and individuals, or people storming the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow legitimate elections, will have no effect to you.

    Also no effect, bringing up the fact that there is an issue with foreign agents and crazies disseminating dangerous misinformation on different platforms that gullible people believe.

    Last, I don't think you understand what actual censorship looks like in countries ruled by authoritarian governments.
    I'm against the Patriot Act. What Trump threats are you referring to? The Oath Keepers were going to overthrow the US election? I find that hard to believe.

    Do you support the censorship that's been happening under the Biden administration?
     


    Yeah it's better to use cut outs so people aren't able to notice the government propaganda.
     

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