Last week, The Intercept published a set of leaks that drew broad interest in perhaps the most undercovered scandal inside the US government today: the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) quiet move to establish, for the first time in US history, an explicitly inward-facing domestic censorship bureau.
What The Intercept glimpsed, however, is just the tip of a much larger iceberg.
The size, scale and speed of DHS’s censorship operation are vastly larger have been reported. Based on our investigation, below are seven bottom-line figures summarizing the scope of censorship carried out by DHS speech control partners, as compiled from their own reports and videos:
- 22 Million tweets labeled “misinformation” on Twitter;
- 859 Million tweets collected in databases for “misinformation” analysis;
- 120 analysts monitoring social media “misinformation” in up to 20-hour shifts;
- 15 tech platforms monitored for “misinformation” often in real-time;
- <1 hour average response time between government partners and tech platforms;
- Dozens of “misinformation narratives” targeted for platform-wide throttling; and
- Hundreds of millions of individual Facebook posts, YouTube videos, TikToks, and tweets impacted, due to “misinformation” Terms of Service policy changes that DHS partners openly plotted and bragged tech companies would never have done without DHS partner insistence and “huge regulatory pressure” from government.
The citations above are from just the DHS censorship network’s impact on the 2020 election cycle alone. That was two years ago, when the narrative management machine referenced by The Intercept was first getting formed. Even the above figures, however, just scratch the surface of the full story.
While The Intercept rightly noted that DHS’s “truth cops“ now take on a range of other topics – such as Covid-19 and geopolitical opinions – it all started from, and grew out of, DHS’s speech control infrastructure set up to censor speech about elections.
That started with the 2020 election. But it continues, importantly, with the 2022 midterm elections, which are ongoing this week.
At Foundation for Freedom Online, for more than six months, we have been publishing and sharing research findings about a wide span of shocking components to DHS’s speech control operations. Our investigation has spurred multiple members of Congress to vow aggressive probes into DHS’s “government censorship by proxy.”