Congress Wants Social Media to Deplatform Us—Take Action to Stop Censorship!

On May 27, the entire Democratic leadership of the House Energy & Commerce Committee sent letters to Facebook, Google and Twitter asking these social media companies to de-platform more than a dozen organic and natural health experts and websites, including the Organic Consumers Association, accusing us―without evidence―of spreading vaccine disinformation.

TAKE ACTION: Stop censorship! Don’t let Congress tell social media companies who to deplatform!

social media icons with a red CENSORED stamp over it

We are in a period of censorship that our nation hasn’t seen since the Red Scare. Back then, people were hauled before the House Un-American Activities Committee to be grilled on their political beliefs. Today, under the guise of an investigation into the pandemic response, they are asked by Members of Congress whether they have been vaccinated and what they think about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy

The issues have changed, but American values, as articulated in Harry Dexter White’s 1948 HUAC testimony, remain the same. He said:

My creed is the American creed. 

I believe in freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of the press, freedom of criticism, and freedom of movement. 

I believe in the goal of equal opportunity and the right of each individual to follow the calling of his or her own choice, and the right of every individual to an opportunity to develop his or her capacity to the fullest.

I believe in the right and duty of every citizen to work for, to expect and to obtain an increasing measure of political, economic, and emotional security for all, and I am opposed to discrimination in any form, whether on the grounds of race, color, religion, political belief or economic status.

I believe in the freedom of choice of one’s representatives in Government, untrammeled by machine guns, secret police or a police state.

I am opposed to the arbitrary and unwarranted use of power or authority from whatever source or against any individual or group.

I believe in a government of law, not of men, where law is above any man and not any man above law.

I consider these principles sacred. I regard them as the basic fabric of our American way of life, and I believe in them as living realities, and not as mere words on paper.

If Dr. Naomi Wolf, who was abruptly booted from Twitter on June 5, had been given the opportunity to confront the Members of Congress who demanded her removal, she likely would have said something similar, but today, the Energy & Commerce Committee has no need to drag us before their committee as individuals, they can simply bring in the gate-keepers of speech, Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg, and tell them who to deplatform.

This is what happened when the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter were called to testify at the House Energy & Commerce Committee’s March 25 hearing, "Disinformation Nation: Social Media's Role in Promoting Extremism and Misinformation.”

At this hearing, members of the committee asked CEOs Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg why they allowed the participation of more than a dozen organic and natural health experts and websites fingered in a report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Anti-Vax Watch, “The Disinformation Dozen: Why Platforms Must Act on Twelve Leading Online Anti-Vaxxers.”

That report demands that social media companies “Deplatform key anti-vaxxer organizations”:

In addition to deplatforming the personal accounts of the Disinformation Dozen, platforms must also acknowledge the real-world networks they use to spread their antivaccine messages. This means deplatforming key organisations that are linked to the Disinformation Dozen or simply help spread their messages.

• Children’s Health Defense (Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.)

• Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) (Del Bigtree)

• National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) (Barbara Loe Fisher, Joseph Mercola)

• Organic Consumers Association (OCA) (Joseph Mercola)

• Millions Against Medical Mandates

On May 27, they followed up with letters to Google, Facebook and Twitter asking these social media companies to de-platform us.

CCDH and AVW don’t reveal their funding. Their ally Voices for Vaccines, which has promoted their report, claims to not accept donations from vaccine companies, but on the very same page admits to being an administrative project of the Task Force for Global Health which is funded by all the vaccine companies.

The Members of Congress who want us deplatformed are also funded by the pharmaceuticals and health products industry. Among their 435 colleagues, Energy & Commerce Chair Frank Pallone ranks 4th in campaign contributions from the industry, having received $256,925 in 2020, while Health Subcommittee Chair Anna Eshoo ranks 5th with $248,350.

This is outrageous! Pharma-funded Congresspersons shouldn’t be telling social media companies who can be on their platforms or what they can talk about.

This is a flagrant violation of our constitutional right to free speech.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes websites from legal liability for the comments of their users: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 

So, there’s no reason for social media platforms to censor their users.

But, the same Section 230 expressly gives them the right to do so, saying, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of...any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

Section 230 protects Facebook, Twitter and Google for “any action voluntarily taken in good faith” even when it blocks access to material that is constitutionally protected, but Congress doesn’t have Section 230 protections and it can’t force social media sites to deplatform their users.

TAKE ACTION: Stop censorship! Don’t let Congress tell social media companies who to deplatform!

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