Feds billed taxpayers to pitch silence-conservatives schemes to Big Tech

Taxpayers were reportedly billed for the development and marketing of censorship schemes to Big Tech by the US government, according to a report by Margot Cleveland from the Federalist.

‘Hosted infomercials to help vendors market censorship software’

Bob Unruh
WND News Center

A stunning report at the Federalist reveals that not only were taxpayers billed for developing schemes to censor conservatives, they also paid for sales agents to market those manipulations to Big Tech.

The report is from Margot Cleveland, the publication’s senior legal correspondent and a veteran of the federal court system, having served as a permanent law clerk to a federal appeals judge for 25 years.

Her report concerns the federal government’s now well-known campaigns to silence conservative thought on social media and other places online in the run-up to the 2020 elections.

The confirmation came from emails Missouri and Louisiana found in their First Amendment lawsuit, now developing in court, against the Joe Biden administration, she explained.

“Specifically, the State Department marketed this censorship technology through its Global Engagement Center,” she reported.

The details include a note from Samaruddin Stewart, at the time a senior adviser for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, to LinkedIn, apparently asking for a meeting since he’d been “tasked with building relationships with technology companies.”

Shortly later, he offered, “I’ll send information [to LinkedIn representatives] about gaining access to Disinfo Cloud – which is a GEC funded platform that offers stakeholders an opportunity to discover companies, technology, and tools that can assist with identifying, understanding, and addressing disinformation.”

The report explained that the “explosive” statements uncovered largely have been overlooked in the dispute, so far.

Cleveland explained, “The Stewart emails establish that in 2020, federal government actors contacted social media giants to promote GEC’s Disinfo Cloud. GEC represented that this government platform provided ‘companies, technology, and tools’ to ‘assist with identifying, understanding, and addressing disinformation.'”

The report continued, “Government employees at GEC also offered to help private companies identify tools to suit their specific needs. Just ‘write’ to the GEC’s Technology Engagement Division about ‘what your office needs to counter propaganda and disinformation,’ the State Department instructed on its webpage, and the government will ‘assist’ in finding ‘a technological solution.'”

The report said the cold calls and offers weren’t all the government did.

“The GEC’s Technology Engagement Division apparently hosted infomercials to help the private vendors market their censorship software,” the report confirmed.

The report also noted deposition testimony from FBI agent Elvis Chan, who confirmed tech companies were offered “vendor-made software ‘that they would pilot to see if they could detect malign foreign influence on social media platforms.'”

Then there were those “webinars” at which the State Department provided “a venue where different vendors could show off their products.”

Further, the GEC ran “tech challenges” to hand out huge grants to censorship companies including News Guard, PeakMetrics and Omelas, the report said.

NewsGuard’s censorship technology includes ‘its unreliable reliability ratings database of thousands of news and information websites and a second database of purported hoaxes,’ as I detailed in March. NewsGuard’s winning tech-challenge entry built upon those databases and used ‘AI and social listening tools to identify the initial source of the hoax,’ and to find instances of the hoax being ‘repeated or amplified’ online.

The report continued, “Consider the implications, using NewsGuard to illustrate.

“NewsGuard rates various media outlets on a 100-point scale and provides a red ‘unreliable’ rating if its ‘experts’ score the news source below 60. The company rates The Federalist ‘red’ and claims it is one of the top-10 ‘most influential misinformers.’ Conversely, some of the outlets that botched the biggest political stories of the century maintain a 100 percent reliability score.

“The government awarded NewsGuard a $25,000 prize to develop new technology on Disinfo Cloud, using, in part, that ratings system as a backbone. NewsGuard would later receive an additional $750,000 from the government to advance the development of its censorship technology. PeakMetrics and Omelas also both scored additional government funding of $1.5 and $1 million respectively.”

The federal government was entangled with censorship schemes because it funded, with tax money, the Disinfo Cloud, providing tech for the program, and a contractor that managed it.

“Then beyond promoting the censorship tools, government employees working with GEC helped social media and private-sector businesses identify, test, and tweak the most ‘appropriate’ technology for their ‘needs,'” the report said.

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