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Vice President Harris launches task force to shut down “online harassment”

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The government, on both the federal and state level, is increasingly trying to police online speech – despite several lawsuits and complaints of First Amendment violations.

The White House has now created a task force that is set to combat “online harassment,” with a particular angle of addressing what it calls “gender-based” violence. The group met today.

The task force was launched by Vice President Harris and is co-chaired by the Gender Policy Council and the National Security Council.

The task force was established following the mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas where there were allegations that the incidents were exacerbated by social media.

The Buffalo shooting in particular was used by New York City Governor Kathy Hochul to usher in social media legislation that will likely be ruled unconstitutional.

The shootings highlight the connection between online “harassment” and extremism, an administration official alleged, as reported by The Hill.

Within the next six months, the new task force will come up with recommendations about how government and the private sector (likely tech platforms) can tackle online harassment.

“The task force will not be focused on particular platforms, but rather the role of platforms and social media more generally, administration officials said,” as reported by The Hill.

Attorney General Merrick Garland and Surgeon General Vivek Murthy will both be at Thursday’s inaugural meeting. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is currently being sued for First Amendment violations for allegedly pressuring social media platforms to censor content.

The Biden administration is launching the task force at a time when it has already recently faced backlash for the controversial Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board which was shut down just weeks after it officially started, due to First Amendment violation concerns from civil liberties groups.

According to The Hill, “administration officials said they are mindful of First Amendment issues in launching the new task force, but said the group is particularly focused on online activities that are illegal conduct, including cyber stalking or the distribution of non-consensual intimate images or targeted harassment.”

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