Judicial Watch: California officials team up with tech giants to censor speech

“In a report last December, Judicial Watch noted that the California Secretary of State’s Office of Election Cybersecurity had begun surveillance and vetting.

Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, released a report on Tuesday (April 27) that documents received from the California Secretary of State’s office show California officials teamed up with big tech companies to censor Americans’ social media posts during the 2020 presidential election.

“In a report last December, Judicial Watch noted that the California Secretary of State’s Office of Election Cybersecurity had begun monitoring and censoring and had asked the social media giant to remove or mark as “misleading” at least two dozen messages.

The group then filed a request with the California Secretary of State’s Office through the California Public Records Act (CPRA) for records including the Office of Election Cybersecurity’s database of social media posts, communications with social media companies (by state officials), and other social media related to the 2020 election.

Based on the 540 pages received and four pages of additional responses, Judicial Watch concludes that California state officials pressured a number of social media companies, including Twitter, Facebook, and Google (YouTube), to censor posts about the 2020 election and to monitor, track, and censor Americans’ free speech.

As for the scope of the censorship, it’s not just about individual posts; Judicial Watch, a conservative organization, has also been targeted.

“In its report, Judicial Watch wrote: “The California Secretary of State’s Office of Election Cybersecurity monitors and tracks social media posts: deciding whether they can be considered misinformation, storing them in an internal database categorized by ‘threat level. ‘ codes in an internal database categorized by ‘threat level,’ and requesting the removal of posts in 31 different situations. In 24 of those cases, social media companies agreed and removed the posts or labeled them as ‘misinformation,’ according to Jenna Dresner, senior public information officer for the Office of Election Cybersecurity.”

In addition, Judicial Watch found in the documents that the secretary of state drew up a list of videos hosted by Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton and communicated with YouTube about them, pressuring them to try to crack down on the videos. The video. The video is about conservatives accusing Democrats of benefiting from incorrect voter lists and ballot collection.

“Judicial Watch found this quote in the communication log sent to YouTube by state officials: “We (state officials) want to flag this YouTube video because it misleads community members about elections or other civic processes and misrepresents the safety and security of mail-in ballots. and security.”

The documents show that California officials contacted YouTube directly about the video on Sept. 24, 2020, and asked that the video be removed. And YouTube appears to have responded three days later, on the 27th, by removing the video.

Fitton also noted that SKDKnickerbocker (SKDK, which Wikipedia says works exclusively with Democratic politicians), a public affairs and political consulting firm associated with the presidential campaign, was involved in censoring speech during last year’s election.

“Judicial Watch further found that SKDK shared “misinformation daily briefings” with California officials. California officials would then disseminate the briefings among social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

In another example, a Facebook post suggesting that a Facebook user had voted twice with multiple ballots was removed on October 31, 2020. Other posts removed by the social media giant included those about voter fraud, receiving multiple ballots in the mail, and finding thousands of unopened ballots in a trash bin.

Meanwhile, a post by Fitton on Twitter said, “Mailing 51 million ballots to people who didn’t ask for them increases the risk of voter fraud and intimidation.” The post was also flagged by SKDK as part of the “Misinformation Tracker.

“These new documents show that the California Secretary of State, Biden’s campaign and Big Tech conspired to violate Americans’ First Amendment rights.” Fitton said, “These documents explode the lie that Big Tech censorship is ‘private’ because they show collusion among all government officials in multiple states to silence speech about the election controversy.”