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Feds keep Facebook censorship portal despite DHS Disinformation Board demise

Government and law enforcement officials are able to request censorship of Facebook and Instagram posts using a special portal — despite the Biden administration’s failed attempt to establish a Disinformation Governance Board, according to a new report.

The previously unknown portal allows officials with .gov or law enforcement email addresses to request censorship in the name of fighting “disinformation,” The Intercept reported.

Facebook reportedly created the portal for the Department of Homeland Security and other entities to squelch content.

The link remains live despite the public furore over the proposed board to police domestic political speech, which was scrapped earlier this year due to backlash and questions about its legality.

The social media giant did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment on the portal.

The disbanded DHS board was likened by Republicans and also some left-wing and libertarian critics to an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” after it was announced in April.

Sen. Bill Hagerty said the board’s creation may have been illegal.
Tom Williams, Pool via AP

The disinformation board was announced shortly after billionaire Elon Musk reached an initial deal to buy Twitter in order to implement pro-free speech and anti-censorship reforms — heightening suspicion that it would be used by the administration as a bludgeon against free expression.

The Intercept report revealing the special portal was published just days after Musk formally took over Twitter and fired top executives accused of politically biased censorship.

Critics of the DHS board said that its mission ran afoul of the spirit of the First Amendment, which shields citizens from government actions to curb free speech.

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) and other critics charged the board’s creation may have been illegal as well — pointing to the Antideficiency Act, which says the executive branch can’t spend money unless Congress authorizes it, and to Congressional Review Act rules for new regulatory measures.

Ironically, so-called disinformation expert Nina Jankowicz was expected to lead the DHS censorship board despite repeatedly casting doubt on The Post’s reporting on documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop, which the Washington Post and New York Times belatedly verified.

Facebook and Instagram logos on devices
The portal allows officials with .gov or law enforcement email addresses to request censorship in the name of fighting “disinformation.”
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Then-White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the time that the board would merely continue anti-disinformation work underway during the Trump administration. She highlighted the work of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, whose former director Chris Krebs was fired by President Donald Trump for rejecting his claims about 2020 election fraud.

Skeptics of online censorship note that remarks deemed “disinformation” can later gain widespread acceptance.

In one instance of since-repealed censorship, Facebook banned discussion of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s possible role in the COVID-19 pandemic until mid-2021. Government officials who had steered funding toward risky research conducted by the lab said it was an unfounded conspiracy theory, but it later gained broad credibility — including from US spy agencies, who labeled it one of two possible explanations for the pandemic’s origin.

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