Documents recently revealed in a censorship lawsuit against the Biden administration indicate the White House asked Facebook to censor content regarding the COVID-19 vaccines from Fox News personality Tucker Carlson.
The material has been released by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who is leading the lawsuit that includes Missouri as a plaintiff. The case alleges the Biden administration conspires with Big Tech companies to censor free speech in direct violation of the First Amendment.
— Jeff Landry (@JeffLandry) January 7, 2023
White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty was at the center of the government censorship effort.
He sent an email to Facebook on April 14, 2021, that stated: “Since we’ve been on the phone – the top post about vaccines today is Tucker Carlson saying they don’t work. Yesterday it was Tomi Lahren saying she won’t take one.”
Flaherty also wrote to Facebook to challenge the platform about what appears to have been some agreement to reduce content critical of the COVID-19 jabs: “This is exactly why I want to know what ‘Reduction’ actually looks like — if ‘reduction’ means ‘pumping our most vaccine-hesitant audience with Tucker Carlson saying it doesn’t work, then… I’m not sure it’s reduction!”
Other emails show Facebook snapped to attention when challenged by the Biden White House. An employee wrote to Flaherty with an assurance that Facebook was “running this down.”
Facebook also promised the White House that it was censoring content from highly-visible vaccine skeptic Robert Kennedy Jr.
The emails produced through the Louisiana lawsuit come amid other revelations about government censorship made by new Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk. The “Twitter Files” have shown in part that Pfizer employed the same lobbyist as the White House to put heavy pressure on Facebook to stifle public debate about the vaccines.
As part of the ongoing discovery process in the case, the administration has also identified at least 45 federal officials at various agencies who actively communicate with social media companies about censoring “misinformation.”
One email from a senior executive at Facebook to the U.S. Surgeon General said, “I know our teams met today to better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.”
The same executive also wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services, thanking a government official for “taking the time to meet.” The email discusses the details of Facebook’s efforts to monitor and censor free speech the White House found objectionable.
Landry’s lawsuit is pending in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.