Twenty Democrat State Attorneys General Sent A Letter To Facebook Pressuring The Tech Giant To Censor More Legal Speech In A Thinly Veiled Attack On Conservatives
Democrat state attorneys general are using their government offices to pressure the social media giant to censor conservative voices using thinly coded language in a recently released letter. Among the undersigned is a familiar name: former DNC Chair Keith Ellison.
The alarming letter was addressed to Facebook chairman Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook chief operating officer Sherly Sandberg and requests that the network work harder to remove “disinformation,” “bias,” and “discrimination.” To make this point clearer, these attorneys general are not asking Facebook to help combat crime, but rather to stop lawful speech from being posted on their network. In other words, due to the protections offered to Americans by the 1st Amendment, their offices are calling on private corporations to restrict speech.
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Perhaps the most concerning aspect of the letter is that it also targets unnamed elected “public officials” who they believe need to be silenced on social media: “Private parties, organized groups, and public officials continue to use Facebook to spread misinformation and project messages of hate against different groups of Americans.”
Misinformation. They use that word throughout the letter, because that’s what this is really about. It’s not about so-called hate speech (which is really just distasteful, yet legally protected, free speech). This is about censoring wrong-think. It’s about censoring stories they don’t want you to read.
The 20 State AGs Support Black Lives Matter:
But that’s not the only concern that needs to be addressed here. The letter begins with an implicit acknowledgement of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Our nation is in the midst of a reckoning on issues of racial justice and civil rights,” the letter reads. “As State Attorneys General, we have witnessed firsthand how the country’s longstanding undercurrent of discrimination has burst open…And while recent events have further highlighted the systemic injustice that persists in our society, the last few months also have seen millions of Americans join together to call for action against bias and racism.”
“Private parties, organized groups, and public officials continue to use Facebook to spread misinformation and project messages of hate against different groups of Americans.”
These AGs Believe Free Speech Is Limited
Also implied by the letter is another concerning element: the belief that free speech is constrained by protections for certain classes. The first amendment does not prohibit criticism or vulgarity directed specific genders, races, or creeds. In fact, despite the unsavory nature of some statements of this kind, it is the controversial speech that needs protecting most. Yet the attorneys generals disagree:
“Much of that harassment is focused on characteristics protected by the civil right laws that many of us are charged with enforcing, including race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, and disability.”
Misinformation, Misinformation, And Misinformation
So how do they want social media giants to address their grievances? With algorithmic manipulation that curtails the spread of conservative opinion:
“By funneling users toward particular types of content, Facebook’s content population scheme, including its algorithms, can push users into extremist online communities that feature divisive and inflammatory messages, often directed at particular groups…Facebook should commit to an ongoing, independent analysis of its content population scheme, including its algorithms, and also continuously implement mandatory protocols as best practices are identified to curb bias and prevent recommendations of hate content and groups.”
The letter is undersigned by the following state attorneys general:
NJ AG Gurbir S. Grewal
DC AG Karl A. Racine
IL AG Kwame Raoul
CA AG Xavier Becerra
CT AG William Tong
DE AG Kathleen Jennings
HI AG Clare E. Connors
IA AG Tom Miller
ME AG Aaron M. Frey
MD AG Brian E. Frosh
MA AG Maura T. Healy
MN AG Keith Ellison
NM AG Hector Balderas
NY AG Letitia James
NC AG Josh Stein
PA AG Josh Shapiro
RI AG Peter Neronha
VT AG Thomas J. Donovan Jr.
VA AG Mark R. Herring
WI AG Joshua L. Kaul