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Tags: Biden Administration | Coronavirus | mike lee | covid | free speech

Sen. Mike Lee: Administration, Facebook Censoring Free Speech on COVID

mike lee speaks in hearing
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asks a question as Judge Merrick Garland testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to be U.S. Attorney General on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 22, 2021. (DREW ANGERER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 16 July 2021 12:10 PM

Sen. Mike Lee Friday slammed the Biden administration and Facebook after press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House, within the surgeon general's office, is flagging posts on Facebook that spread misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccinations. 

"The government can't censor speech," the Utah Republican said on Fox News' "America's Newsroom. "The First Amendment makes that clear. Private, for-profit corporations can make their own decisions but when they do it with collusion in government it looks to me a lot like a First Amendment violation."

Psaki told reporters Thursday that "We've increased disinformation research and tracking. Within the surgeon general's office, we're flagging posts for Facebook that spread disinformation."

"It's important to take faster action against harmful posts," she added, reports Real Clear Politics. "As you all know, information travels quite quickly on social media platforms. Sometimes it's not accurate, and Facebook needs to move more quickly to remove harmful violative posts. Posts that would be within their policies for removal often remain up for days. That's too long. The information spreads too quickly."

But Lee said Big Tech hasn't been using its own rules evenly, and that's a problem. 

"What we've seen the social media platforms and search engines on many, many occasions of late promising to be even-handed portraying themselves to their users and to the public as even-handed when they are anything but that," said Lee. "The American people aren't going to tolerate that much longer and why I've introduced something called the Promise Act that requires them to offer the service they actually promise."

Lee also pointed out that in recent months, Facebook and Twitter have been busy taking down posts such as news about Hunter Biden and other items that "are all messages that are deemed to be associated in one way or another with the right and not the left."

"You do not find instances of this happening for messages on the left," Lee said. "The reason for that is pretty darn obvious. There again, if they want to run a company and if they are to be 'Leftbook' or 'left-Twitter' that's one thing. When they promise their own users they will be even-handed and do the opposite of that, that's a deceptive business practice."

He also said he thinks Big Tech will start to "do the right thing" if they realize Republicans at some point will regain control of Congress and the White House. 

"When that happens, if they've waited until then to fix it, things will be a lot more unpleasant for them than they need to be," said Lee, "so I call on them to do the right thing right now."

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Politics
Sen. Mike Lee Friday slammed the Biden administration and Facebook after press secretary Jen Psaki said the White House, within the surgeon general's office, is flagging posts on Facebook...
mike lee, covid, free speech
439
2021-10-16
Friday, 16 July 2021 12:10 PM
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