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Wednesday, April 28, 2021
FOIA Documents Show CA State Officials Coordinated with Big Tech to Censor Americans’ Election Posts.
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 540 pagesand a supplemental four pagesof documents from the office of the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these documents were “misinformation briefings” emails that were compiled by communications firm SKDK, that lists Biden for President as their top clientof 2020. The documents show how the state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor a Judicial Watch video concerning the vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up.
The records were obtained in response to Judicial Watch’s California Public Records Act (CPRA) requests to the Office of the California Secretary of State for records related to the Office of Election Cybersecurity’s database of social media posts; communications with social media companies; and other social media related records regarding the 2020 elections. Judicial Watch filed the requests after a December 2020 report surfaced that the state agency was surveilling, tracking, and seeking to censor the speech of Americans:
The Office of Election Cybersecurity in the California Secretary of State’s office monitored and tracked social media posts, decided if they were misinformation, stored the posts in an internal database coded by threat level, and on 31 different occasions requested posts be removed. In 24 cases, the social media companies agreed and either took down the posts or flagged them as misinformation, according to Jenna Dresner, senior public information officer for the Office of Election Cybersecurity.
“We don’t take down posts, that is not our role to play,” Dresner said. “We alert potential sources of misinformation to the social media companies and we let them make that call based on community standards they created.”
On September 24, 2020, a California Secretary of State chartlists a video from Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton and falsely alleges:
Head of conservative group Judicial Watch Hosts video alleging Democrats benefit from incorrect voter rolls and ballot collection.
The Secretary of State’s office details its communication with YouTube: “We wanted to flag this YouTube video because it misleads community members about elections or other civic processes and misrepresents the safety and security of mail-in ballots.” The chart quotes Fitton describing Judicial Watch’s statement about its federal lawsuit settlement with Los Angeles County that will require it to clean up voter rolls and how a Michigan court “changed the rules” on ballot deadlines and ballot harvesting. (The controversial decision was overturned in October 2020.)
The document shows that California state officials contacted YouTube directly to remove the video on September 24, 2020, and that YouTube seemed to respond by deleting the video on September 27, 2020.