Harris Demands Social Media Companies ‘Cooperate and Work With Us’ on ‘Protecting Our Democracy’
Vice President Kamala Harris said Monday that she expects and “will require” social media companies to work with the Biden administration to prevent so-called misinformation and disinformation, and to protect democracy.
During an interview with NPR that aired Monday, Harris was asked for her thoughts on the changes made on Twitter since Elon Musk took over the platform.
“I think a little differently on this issue, which is my deep, deep concern about how misinformation and disinformation has infiltrated information streams in our country,” Harris said.
The vice president pointed to her four years as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, during which she was actively involved in the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Harris said that reports on the matter, both classified and public, have shown that there is a “vast amount of intentional disinformation and misinformation targeting specific demographics to take advantage of existing inequalities and skepticism about the role and importance of the government can be.”
She added that it was allegedly done to weaken American democracy.
Big Tech must ‘cooperate’ with government
“When I see social media being used in that way, it gives me a very deep level of concern,” Harris said. “So what I would say about any social media site is this: I expect and will fully require leaders in that sector to cooperate and cooperate with those of us who are concerned about national security, concerned about maintaining and protecting our democracy, to do everything in their power to ensure that there is not a manipulation that is allowed or overlooked that is done for the purpose of improving the security of our democracy and our nation.”
The vice president’s comments come amid reports of federal government collusion with Big Tech companies to censor users. White House officials have denied allegations that the administration colluded with social media companies to censor free speech on various topics, including COVID-19.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote to the five largest tech giants — Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta and Microsoft — on Dec. 14, demanding documents related to their alleged censorship practices and the “nature and extent of your companies’ collusion with the Biden administration.”
“Big Tech is out to get conservatives, and is increasingly willing to undermine First Amendment values by complying with the Biden administration’s directives that stifle free speech online,” Jordan wrote.
“This approach undermines fundamental American principles and allows powerful government actors to silence political opponents and stifle opposing viewpoints. Publicly available information indicates that your companies’ treatment of certain speakers and content may stem from government directives or guidance designed to suppress dissent,” he added.
Dorsey says the government wants to control public conversation
The letter came as Twitter CEO Elon Musk took to the platform in recent weeks to reveal the so-called “Twitter files,” detailing how conservative commentators had their tweets censored by the platform and how staffers worked to suppress a New York Post article. about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election.
Following the release of the files, former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a blog post that social media “must be resistant to corporate and government control.”
Dorsey added that governments are trying to control and shape the public conversation and will use “every method at their disposal” to do so, which the businessman said includes the media.
“It is critical that the people have tools to resist this, and that those tools are ultimately owned by the people. Allowing a government or a few corporations to own the public conversation is a path to centralized control,” Dorsey added.
Bryan Jung contributed to this report.