Musk has promised to reestablish free speech on Twitter, which has blacklisted prominent speakers. But the US government has other plans as Biden unveils disinformation governance board one day after Elon Musk buys Twitter.
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is being expanded by US President Joe Biden’s administration to encompass combating speech that the government considers to be “disinformation.”
The new proposal’s intentions were exposed on Wednesday, when DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced the creation of a “disinformation governance board” during a congressional hearing. Nina Jankowicz, who previously advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry and oversaw the National Democratic Institute’s Russia and Belarus programs, will lead the new organization.
“Cat’s out of the bag,” Jankowicz said in a Twitter post. “Here’s what I’ve been up to the past two months, and why I’ve been a bit quiet on here.”
Despite the fact that Mayorkas announced the new institution in answer to a query about disinformation being used to impact elections, the new panel is said to be dedicated to combatting “misinformation related to homeland security, focused specifically on irregular migration and Russia.”
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The government began its disinformation campaign merely two days after Elon Musk, the billionaire, agreed to acquire Twitter for $44 billion. Musk has promised to reestablish free speech on the site, which has blacklisted prominent conservative speakers and has been accused of swaying the 2020 presidential race by withholding information about an alleged Biden influence-peddling incident.
When asked about the Twitter agreement by reporters on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden “has long been concerned about the power of large social media platforms” and will encourage Congress to adopt measures to address online disinformation.
Ironically, Jankowicz propagated bogus information on the supposed Biden controversy weeks before the 2020 election, claiming that former intelligence officials had labeled the New York Post’s suppressed story a “Russian influence op.” She also referred to the article as a “Trump campaign product” and predicted that Trump supporters will come up at the polls armed to frighten voters. Numerous major media outlets, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, later corroborated the emails on which the Biden story was based.
“I shudder to think about if free speech absolutists were taking over more platforms, what that would look like for the marginalized communities, which are already shouldering disproportionate amounts of this abuse,” Jankowicz remarked in response to reports of Musk’s Twitter takeover on Monday.
Last December, Jankowicz referred to Musk as a “online abuser” and suggested that the only way to counteract such conduct is to “deny them influence and notoriety.” She has also endorsed speech regulation, stating, “The ‘free speech vs censorship’ framing is a false dichotomy.”