Over the past year, Big Tech platforms have been accused of censoring content related to the pandemic on behalf of the Biden administration. President Biden has literally asked social media platforms to do this.
Now a group with voting stake in Google’s parent company Alphabet, has taken action by pressuring the platforms to disclose content takedown requests from the White House.
As reported by The Washington Free Beacon, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) has submitted a shareholder proposal to Alphabet, which owns Google and YouTube, to disclose any request from the White House to remove certain content.
The proposal follows multiple accusations that Google and YouTube remove content that contradicts the Biden administration’s narrative on the pandemic.
Last July, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Biden administration was “in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team, given, as Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic.”
She added that the administration was flagging “problematic” content on behalf of social media companies, and encouraging them to “take faster action against harmful posts.”
“The case for this kind of disclosure is double barreled. All citizens should be aware when the government engages in censorship, even if it is through a private-sector company, and shareholders of that company should know when they become a party to it,” NLPC chairman Peter Flaherty told The Washington Free Beacon.
“The administration keeps labeling certain information about the pandemic ‘disinformation,’ and gets it yanked off social media, only to later embrace the same information. Alphabet should not be contributing to such a farce.”
According to the NLPC, coordination between the company and the government is “unconstitutional censorship, opening the company to liability by victims.”
Should the proposal be approved, Alphabet would have to “provide a report, published on the company’s website and updated semi-annually – and omitting proprietary information and at reasonable cost – that specifies the Company’s policy in responding to requests to remove or take down material from its platforms by the Executive Office of the President, Centers for Disease Control, or any other agency or entity of the United States Government.”