It’s been less than two weeks since Joe Biden was inaugurated as President and now his administration has thrown its support behind social media platforms’ censorship of “hate speech.”
During today’s White House press briefing, when Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether Biden supports Big Tech banning former President Trump from their platforms, Psaki replied: “I think that’s a decision made by Twitter. We’ve certainly spoke to and he’s spoken to the need for social media platforms to continue to take steps to reduce hate speech.”
Psaki’s statement in favor of social media platforms censoring what they deem to be hate speech follows the President of the European Commission (EC), Ursula von der Leyen, calling on Biden to crack down on online hate speech days after he was inaugurated.
While the Biden administration can’t censor so-called hate speech directly because it has to abide by the First Amendment and the US Supreme Court has unanimously reaffirmed that there’s no hate speech exception to the First Amendment, the government can pressure or encourage Big Tech companies that control most of the online speech infrastructure to censor based on buzzwords such as hate speech or “misinformation.”
Related: ? Joe Biden’s attitude to free speech is a mixed bag
Since the inauguration, several social media posts and interactions criticizing Biden have been purged by the tech giants, including a Facebook post criticizing Biden’s transgender policy and hundreds of thousands of dislikes on Biden’s YouTube videos.
And a few weeks before the 2020 US presidential election, the Big Tech platforms came under fire after they censored a bombshell story alleging that Biden had abused his powers when he was Vice President in 2015 to help an energy company that his son was working for avoid an investigation.
After the election, it was revealed that Biden’s son Hunter was under federal investigation, leading to further criticism of Big Tech’s censorship of this major story.
Psaki’s comments on hate speech come one week after the Biden White House revealed that it plans to introduce new press pass criteria that prohibit “conspiracy theories” and “disinformation” – a development that left several reporters concerned that they would lose their press passes under these new rules.