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US State Department funds UK think tank that aids in censorship of Americans

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The US State Department funds UK-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), an organization that partners with platforms to flag misinformation and disinformation. The organization has been accused of classifying conservative viewpoints as hate and disinformation.

In September 2021, the State Department awarded ISD a grant to “advance the development of promising and innovative technologies against disinformation and propaganda” in the UK and Europe after it won the US-Paris Tech Challenge. The challenge was also won by the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), an organization that has been accused of causing the demonetization of conservative news websites by putting them on a blacklist used by advertisers, the Daily Caller reported.

The State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) funded the ISD to research Russian disinformation tactics on Wikipedia. However, the department insisted that it does not engage in content moderation on social media.

ISD has several partnerships with social media platforms on content moderation decisions. The organization is a member of Spotify’s Safety Advisory Council, which advises the platform on how to respond to misinformation.

ISD is also part of YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program, whose members are tasked with improving the platform’s enforcement of its guidelines and can flag more content than other users. Google said that it “prioritizes flags from Trusted Flaggers.”

The organization also has partnerships with Google to counter hate and extremism in the UK and Europe. It also partners with Amazon’s Audible, Facebook, and Microsoft.

ISD is mostly focused on extremism and terrorism. However, it has also been targeting what it deems misinformation and hate.

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