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Tags: sen. blackburn | biden | psaki | facebook | covid

Sen. Blackburn: Administration's COVID Facebook Censorship Might Violate First Amendment

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. speaking at a press conference.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaking at a press conference about S.1, the For The People Act. (Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 19 July 2021 08:33 AM EDT

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wrote to President Joe Biden to blast the administration’s collaboration with Facebook to rid the platform of vaccine "misinformation," it was reported Monday.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki revealed last week that the Biden administration was working to stop what it considered misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccinations from spreading on the social media platform.

Blackburn suggested the administration could be violating users' First Amendment rights.

"These revelations are deeply concerning," Blackburn wrote in a letter obtained by Fox News.

"The blatant actions by your administration to work with Big Tech companies to censor Americans’ free speech are shocking — and arguably a violation of the First Amendment."

Blackburn requested more information from the administration about how it's working with Facebook.

"What criteria are you directing social media platforms to use to flag and remove posts?" Blackburn asked. "What criteria are you directing social media platforms to use to ban users?"

"What is the legal basis for your Administration’s decision to direct social media platforms to flag and remove posts from their sites?

"Does the White House have staff dedicated to searching social media for content to flag for removal?"

Psaki last week defended the administration’s actions, saying it was trying to ensure the accuracy of information by "regularly making sure social media platforms are aware of the latest narratives, dangerous to public health that we and many other Americans are seeing across all of social and traditional media."

Psaki added: "As you all know, information travels quite quickly. If it's up there for days and days and days. When people see it, you know, there's, it's hard to put that back in a box, and of course, promoting quality information algorithms, I don't know how they work, but they all do know how they work."

On Friday, Biden was asked to express his message to social platforms regarding COVID-19 misinformation.

"They’re killing people," Biden said. "The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people."

In pointing out Biden missed his goal of getting 70% of the country vaccinated by July 4, Facebook answered by saying it had saved lives by informing millions of how to get vaccinated.

"We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts," a Facebook spokesperson said. "The fact is that more than 2 billion people have viewed authoritative information about COVID-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet.

"More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period."

A social media firestorm erupted following the comments by Psaki and Biden. Users said they were concerned over the close relationship between the administration and Facebook in censoring information.

"President Biden’s White House is teaming up with Big Tech to censor speech. It’s wrong & contrary to your 1st Amendment rights," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., tweeted.

"The American people deserve to know—how much are taxpayers paying for Biden to monitor their personal social media accounts & suppress their voices?"

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Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., wrote to President Joe Biden to blast the administration's collaboration with Facebook to rid the platform of vaccine "misinformation," it was reported Monday. White House press secretary Jen Psaki revealed last week that the Biden administration...
sen. blackburn, biden, psaki, facebook, covid
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2021-33-19
Monday, 19 July 2021 08:33 AM
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