Sen. Lankford: If Federal Government is 'Trying to Impose New Standards' of Speech on Facebook That 'is Crossing a Very Clear Line'

By Ashlianna Kreiner | July 22, 2021 | 2:58pm EDT
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)  (Getty Images)
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) (Getty Images)

(CNS News) – In reference to the Biden administration working with Facebook to suppress postings it considers “vaccine misinformation,” Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) said, “the federal government trying to impose new standards to them [Facebook], is crossing a very clear line.”

At the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, CNS News asked the senator, “Should the Biden Administration work with Facebook to suppress posts it considers to be vaccine misinformation?”

Sen. Lankford said, “No, they—to try to limit free-speech of individuals that goes against the First Amendment, and we’re talking about, this is way beyond Section 230. Now we are talking about the federal government actually engaged in the processing through what is allowed and what is not allowed.”

“That’s a whole different level,” said Lankford.  "If you’re dealing with Facebook, it’s a private company, it has their own standards. Now, the federal government trying to impose new standards to them, is crossing a very clear line.”

Last week, the Biden administration admitted that it is working with Facebook to suppress certain posts on the social media platform that contain alleged “vaccine misinformation.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

When asked about the posts on July 16, Biden said, “They’re killing people. … The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people."

Also on July 16, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration is “in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team, given, as [U.S. Surgeon General] Dr. Murthy conveyed, this is a big issue of misinformation, specifically on the pandemic.”

“We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the Surgeon General’s office,” said Psaki.  “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

“You shouldn’t be banned from one platform and not others, uh – if you – for providing misinformation out there,” she said.

Psaki then explained four suggestions the White House has given to Facebook and commented, “We engage with them regularly and they certainly know what our asks are.”

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

However, Psaki told CNS News during her press conference on July 19 that the White House has “not asked Facebook to block any individual posts,” but the Biden administration “certainly raised where we have concerns about information that’s inaccurate that is traveling out there in whatever platform it’s traveling on.”

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) commented to Psaki on Twitter, “Her statement makes it abundantly clear they want people banned for simply disagreeing with the government’s pre-approved narrative.”

Transcript

CNSNews.com: “Should the Biden Administration work with Facebook to suppress posts it considers to be vaccine misinformation?”

Sen. Lankford: “No, they—to try to limit free-speech of individuals that goes against the First Amendment, and we’re talking about, this is way beyond Section 230. Now we are talking about the federal government actually engaged in the processing through what is allowed and what is not allowed. That’s a whole different level. If you’re dealing with Facebook, it’s a private company, it has their own standards. Now, the federal government trying to impose new standards to them, is crossing a very clear line.”

CNSNews.com: “All right, thank you so much.”

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