Election interference affected thousands of web URLs and millions of social posts during the 2020 campaign, and put a focus on some members of Congress and candidates for federal office, raising concerns about the separation of powers and election meddling.
The same entities are back working to ensure a certain outcome in the 2022 election.
In the 2020 election, the Department of Homeland Security coordinated with a group called the “Election Integrity Partnership (EIP)” to censor Biden’s opponents. This is who makes up the EIP: • Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) • University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public • Atlantic Council’s DFR Lab • Analytics firm Graphika:
During the next two years, the ‘partners’ all recieved grants from the Biden Administration. The National Science Foundation gave Stanford and UW $3million to study “ways to apply collaborative, rapid-response research to mitigate online disinformation”. Graphic got $5 million to research “cross-platform detection to counter malign influence”. The Atlantic Council thinktank recieved $4.7 million from Biden for undisclosed research.
How does the EIP work? As an example, compare it to how the CIA and DOD use contractors to fight battles they don’t want to be seen fighting in an official capacity. That’s essentially the EIP but acting as a Ministry of Truth.
DHS, the State Department, the DNC, Common Cause and the NAACP would file tickets with the EIP on posts or people they wanted censored. The EIP did the dirty work of going to Big Tech.
Three liberal groups — the Democratic National Committee, Common Cause and the NAACP — were also empowered like the federal agencies to file tickets seeking censorship of content. A Homeland-funded collaboration, the Elections Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center, also had access.
In its after-action report on the 2020 election, the consortium noted that it flagged more than 4,800 URLs — shared nearly 22 million times on Twitter alone — for social media platforms. The EIP staff worked 12-20 hour shifts from September through mid-November 2020, with “monitoring intensif[ying] significantly” the week before and after Election Day.
Once the tickets were submitted, the submitters sought removal, throttling and labeling of content that raised questions about mail-in ballot integrity, Arizona’s “Sharpiegate,” and other election integrity issues that conservatives were talking about.
The EIP then created an “enemies list”. These folks were considered to be a special group that they considered spreaders of misinformation, and needed to be censored:
According to their reports, the EIP achieved a success rate in 2020: Platforms took action on 35% of flagged URLs, with 21% labeled, 13% removed and 1% soft-blocked, You probably came across this yourself. A misinformatoin warning would pop up and you had to close out the warning to see the content.
During the course of the EIP’s communication with Big Tech, conservative accounts on IG and Twitter were put on a search ban which remains to this day and thousands wrote that Twitter made their accounts unfollow certain people. This was clear election interference and an in kind donation to these candidates opponents.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress from passing any laws that abridge free speech, and courts have ruled that prohibition extends to federal agencies funded by the legislative branch. Participants had to know that federal agencies’ role in this thing was dubious at best.
SIO’s Renee DiResta said in a CISA Cybersecurity Summit video in 2021 that the operation faced “unclear legal authorities” and “very real First Amendment questions.” She joined SIO from a firm exposed by The New York Times for creating “a ‘false flag’ operation” against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Mike Benz, an ex-State Department official, who now does research for the Foundation for Freedom Online, a nonprofit which advocates for free speech globally while monitoring growing U.S. censorship notes that the EIP was the largest federally-sanctioned censorship operation he had ever seen. He feels it will probably be more influention ins the future.
“The government knows that they cannot do it by themselves because of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which prohibits it,” Clyde told the “Just the News, Not Noise” television show. “And then they decide to partner with another entity, a private entity. a social media platform or university…And then they say, ‘Hey, we’re going to feed you information that we think is disinformation, or we want to be disinformation. And then you go ahead and you do the de-platforming. You label it as misinformation, or disinformation.'”- Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), a member of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Note: New PayPal Policy Lets Company Pull $2,500 From Users’ Accounts If They Promote ‘Misinformation’.