07/21/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/21/2021 13:34
Today, Congressman Andy Biggs, along with 12 of his colleagues, sent a letter to President Biden condemning his decision to monitor and flag the Facebook posts of U.S. Citizens:
'Monitoring and censoring Americans is antithetical to what this country stands for. The government is not the arbiter of truth and has no right teaming up with Big Tech to filter and manipulate speech it disagrees with. The Biden administration is leading this country down a road where only government propaganda is acceptable and free and open debate is banned. This is a deadly way to lead a country, and we must fight to protect our God-given freedoms,' said Congressman Biggs.
Co-signers: Congressman Dan Bishop (NC-09), Congresswoman Mary Miller (IL-15), Congressman Ralph Norman (SC-05), Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04), Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10), Congressman Tom Tiffany (WI-07), Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-14), Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (CO-03), Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01), Congressman Louie Gohmert (TX-01), Congressman Randy Weber (TX-14), Congressman Bob Good (VA-05)
You can read the full letter here or below:
July 21, 2021
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr.
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Biden,
Your tyrannical decision to monitor and flag Facebook posts of U.S. citizens is abhorrent to all freedom-loving Americans. It is antithetical to America's founding and is more in line with the authoritarian regimes in Russia, China, and Cuba. You must immediately stop these actions and fire all federal employees who worked with Facebook to implement this policy.
During the White House press briefing on July 15, 2021, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated, 'We've increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General's office. We're flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We're working with doctors and medical professionals to connect - to connect medical experts with popular - with popular - who are popular with their audiences with - with accurate information and boost trusted content.' Flagging a person's speech because they refuse to parrot the government's talking points is a tool of authoritarian regimes throughout the world. Labeling an individual's speech untruthful or calling them a liar because they say something other than what is accepted by the government is an instrument that has been used by every authoritarian regime to stifle dissent and persecute the opposition.
During the briefing, Ms. Psaki announced that the senior staff had been in contact with Facebook and had made several recommendations to Facebook on how Facebook could censor speech. One of those recommendations was for Facebook to 'promote quality information sources in their feed algorithm. Facebook has repeatedly shown that they have the levers to promote quality information. We've seen them effectively do this in their algorithm over low-quality information and they've chosen not to use it in this case. And that's certainly an area that would have an impact.'
This blatant assault of free speech is un-American and must stop immediately. Senior administration officials should not be making recommendations to private companies on how they can stop open and free debate. The federal government should not regulate what content Americans see on their Facebook walls. The government should not determine which sources are 'quality information sources.' That is a tactic of authoritarians around the world who seek to silence opposition by labeling them as crackpots and liars. The government is not the arbiter of truth and must stop seeking to prevent people from speaking in the public square.
Unfortunately, your administration's assault on free and open debate did not end there. On Friday, July 16, 2021, you stated that Facebook and other social media platforms that do not remove speech that you disagree with are 'killing people.' You have laid down the gauntlet. Either social media companies can censor speech you disagree with, or they will have blood on their hands. What other types of speech are you claiming is deadly? Is all speech critical of you or your administration deadly? You are leading this nation down a dangerous road to fascism and totalitarianism where only speech approved by the government is acceptable and all other speech is deadly.
Currently, the Cuban people are fighting for their freedom against the barbaric tyranny of the Communist regime. The regime, in an attempt to suppress and censor speech, has shut off the internet. Your decision to monitor, flag, and pressure Facebook to promote speech you find acceptable and hide speech you disagree with is not so different from what the Cuban regime is currently doing.
Please provide the answers to the following question no later than August 1, 2021.
1. Who in the federal government has been working with Facebook to monitor Americans' speech?
2. What steps are you taking to terminate the employment of those responsible for such a tyrannical policy?
3. What criteria is the White House or the federal government using when determining if a post spreads misinformation?
4. Are you creating a list of those whose speech differs from yours?
5. Do you believe speech can kill people?
6. What types of speech kill people?
7. Do you believe the government can regulate hate speech or misinformation?
We eagerly await your response to these questions. This policy is both morally wrong and anti-American. The right to speak freely without the threat of violence or censorship from the government is a bedrock principle of American Liberty. You must abandon your dictatorial crusade to purge speech you disagree with from the public square.
Member of Congress