An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Intercept: The Department of Homeland Security is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found. Years of internal DHS memos, emails, and documents — obtained via leaks and an ongoing lawsuit, as well as public documents — illustrate an expansive effort by the agency to influence tech platforms. The work, much of which remains unknown to the American public, came into clearer view earlier this year when DHS announced a new “Disinformation Governance Board”: a panel designed to police misinformation (false information spread unintentionally), disinformation (false information spread intentionally), and malinformation (factual information shared, typically out of context, with harmful intent) that allegedly threatens U.S. interests. While the board was widely ridiculed, immediately scaled back, and then shut down within a few months, other initiatives are underway as DHS pivots to monitoring social media now that its original mandate — the war on terror — has been wound down.
Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the U.S. government has used its power to try to shape online discourse. According to meeting minutes and other records appended to a lawsuit filed by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, a Republican who is also running for Senate, discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information. […] There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use. At the time of writing, the “content request system” at facebook.com/xtakedowns/login is still live.
These are the key takeaways from the report:
– Though DHS shuttered its controversial Disinformation Governance Board, a strategic document reveals the underlying work is ongoing.
– DHS plans to target inaccurate information on ‘the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”
– Facebook created a special portal for DHS and government partners to report disinformation directly.
– The work is primarily done by CISA, a DHS sub-agency tasked with protecting critical national infrastructure.
– DHS, the FBI, and several media entities are having biweekly meetings as recently as August.
– DHS considered countering disinformation relating to content that undermines trust in financial systems and courts.
– The FBI agent who primed social media platforms to take down the Hunter Biden laptop story continued to have a role in DHS policy discussions.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Source: Slashdot – Leaked Documents Outline DHS’s Plans To Police Disinformation