Sens. Cotton, Johnson, Barrasso Oppose Biden and Facebook Censoring Free Speech

Ashlianna Kreiner | July 26, 2021 | 1:14pm EDT
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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.  (Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. (Getty Images)

(CNS News) – In reference to the Biden administration working with Facebook to suppress postings it considers “vaccine misinformation,” Senators Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said they opposed this type of partnership because it essentially is the federal government censoring free speech.

At the U.S. Capitol on July 20, CNS News asked the senators if the Biden administration should work with Facebook to suppress postings they consider to be COVID vaccine misinformation.

Sen. Cotton said, “No. Facebook should not be the censorship arm of the federal government. You know, it was only a few weeks ago that it was misinformation on Facebook that the virus might have come from a lab in Wuhan.”

Sen. Johnson told CNS News, “They should—they should keep their hands off that. No, listen, it really is the collusion between big government and big social media companies. That’s a danger for our democracy.”

Sen. Barrasso said, “I’m against censorship, and I think the Biden administration has done—appears to be guilty of it.”

On July 16, the Biden administration admitted that it is working with Facebook to suppress certain posts on the social media platform that contain alleged “vaccine misinformation.” 

When asked about the posts, 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.”

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.” 

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