Another day, another White House “disinformation” task force.
The Biden administration on Thursday created a new internet policy task force — this one led by Vice President Kamala Harris — with goals including “developing programs and policies” to protect “political figures” and journalists from “disinformation,” “abuse” and “harassment.”
The action follows the Department of Homeland Security’s disastrous April rollout of its Disinformation Governance Board, which was paused after outrage over the perceived step toward government-led internet censorship.
A presidential memorandum establishing the new task force describes a sweeping mission to protect people who seek out a role in public life from online critics.
“In the United States and around the world, women and LGBTQI+ political leaders, public figures, activists, and journalists are especially targeted by sexualized forms of online harassment and abuse, undermining their ability to exercise their human rights and participate in democracy, governance, and civic life,” the memo says.
“Online abuse and harassment, which aim to preclude women from political decision-making about their own lives and communities, undermine the functioning of democracy.”
The new task force’s members include other Biden heavy hitters, such as Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The panel held its first meeting Thursday afternoon. Harris did not specifically use the term “disinformation” in her opening remarks, but declared, “all people deserve to use the Internet free from fear.”
“We still have so much more work to do to protect people from online harassment and abuse, which is why the work of this task force is so important,” Harris said.
“Context: Well, the Internet is an essential part of life in the 21st Century. Can’t get around it, can’t get around without it.”
Harris added: “One in three women under the age of 35 report being sexually harassed online. Over half of the LGBTQ+ people in our country are survivors of severe harassment. Nearly one in four Asian Americans report being called an offensive name.”
The vice president said “no one should have to endure abuse just because they are attempting to participate in society.”
Within 180 days, the panel will submit to President Biden a blueprint that “outlin[es] a whole-of-government approach to preventing and addressing technology-facilitated gender-based violence, including concrete actions that executive departments, agencies, and offices have committed to take to implement the Task Force’s recommendations.”
Within a year, the board will issue a report with “additional recommendations and actions” advising broader steps that can be taken by Internet platforms, state and local governments and schools, the document says.
In April, Biden came under fire for the creation of what critics called a “dystopian” disinformation bureau under DHS, which many viewed as a way for the government to police free speech online.
Conservatives slammed the “Disinformation Governance Board” and noted its timing — coming after Elon Musk vowed to make Twitter a free speech haven through his $44 billion takeover of the social media platform notorious for selectively censoring right-leaning points of view.
This is an excerpt from New York Post.
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