Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch on Monday released documents showing Iowa officials working with Big Tech to censor 2020 election posts.
The records show Iowa officials in the Secretary of State’s office on multiple occasions successfully pressured Facebook and Twitter to remove Judicial Watch’s posts sounding the alarm on the state’s dirty voter rolls.
Via Judicial Watch:
Judicial Watch announced today that it received 624 pages of records from the office of the Secretary of State of Iowa, revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter and Facebook) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these records were emails from Iowa state officials to representatives of Big Tech pressuring these companies to remove Judicial Watch’s posts. The emails show how the state agency successfully pressured Facebook to censor Judicial Watch’s post about Iowa’s management of its voter rolls.
Judicial Watch received the records as a result of a June 2020 Iowa Open Records lawsuit that was filed after the Iowa Secretary of State failed to comply with a February 2020 request for records and communications about a Judicial Watch report regarding the accuracy of the state’s voter registration rolls (Judicial Watch v. Iowa Secretary of State (No. 05771 EQCE085973)). Judicial Watch was represented by Iowa lawyer Alan R. Ostergren of Des Moines, Iowa.
The records show that officials in the Iowa Secretary of State office on multiple occasions contacted officials from Facebook and Twitter to try to have these companies remove Judicial Watch posts that raised concerns about Iowa’s failure to maintain accurate election rolls.
On February 3, 2020, at 5:19 p.m., Kevin Hall, the communications director for the Iowa Secretary of State, wrote in a February 3, 2020, email to Facebook official Rachel Holland:
We’ve been playing whack-a-mole with this false story all day. Is there anything you can do to help: [likely https://www.facebook.com/JudicialWatch/posts/10157583458431943]
We’ve told them is fake. They have it PINNED to the top of their page.
Here’s our rebuttal: https://sos.iowa.gov/news/2020_02_02.html
Holland responded at 6:11p.m., writing:
Circling back with an update regarding the content posted by Judicial Watch. Our third-party fact checkers have rated this content false, and we have applied a filter over the content warning users before they click to see it that the content has been rated false by independent fact checkers.
Please continue to report violating content to us by emailing email@example.com, and copying me (RachelHolland@fb.com), as I will be on an airplane for the next couple hours. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding this or any other matters.
“These records are yet another example of state officials conspiring with Big Tech to deny Americans their First Amendment rights,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These records further show that Big Tech censorship is a government scandal: Iowa government officials worked with Facebook to remove posts they didn’t like, and Facebook bowed to this political pressure immediately. It should be disturbing to all Americans that government officials are working to censor speech they disagree with and that these behemoth companies often seem willing to roll over and censor free speech.”
Last week Judicial Watch announced it received 540 pages and additional documents from the California Secretary of State revealing how state officials pressured and coordinated with Big Tech to censor and remove Americans’ 2020 election posts to help the Biden campaign.
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