Earlier this week, it was revealed that Facebook built a secret portal that allowed government officials to report content for removal. Now, journalists have pressed the White House itself on if it’s using this tool to censor what it perceives to be disinformation.
For its part, the administration emphatically denied using the tool. However, last year, the White House said it made a practice of flagging content for the social media giant. The administration’s spokesperson also went on to say that it is taking steps to combat misinformation online, though she would not say what those steps are.
“The administration remains fully committed to our mission to protect the security and resilience of our elections and safeguard election infrastructure. That includes combating disinformation,” White House press secretary press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.
Of course, this has caused a stir on the political right, which is already suspicious of Facebook’s content moderation efforts. However, the more left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union also expressed concern that this portal could be a big violation of free speech rights.
“The First Amendment bars the government from deciding for us what is true or false, online or anywhere,” the ACLU responded in a tweet. “Our government can’t use private pressure to get around our constitutional rights.”
As usual, Facebook finds itself in a no-win situation, and it’s almost certainly going to have to explain what’s going on here soon.
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