The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) coordinated with major social media and technology companies to control information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 vaccines, according to internal agency communications obtained by America First Legal.
The communications, released after litigation over a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal the CDC flagged posts that it deemed as “misinformation” to social media companies and also coordinated with the companies to promote its own sites. The CDC also held meetings with the companies and even provided verbiage for the companies to use in the fight against supposed misinformation. (RELATED: Former Trump Aide Unveils New Anti-Discrimination Program)
For instance, the CDC proactively flagged posts for tech companies, sending Twitter a chart showing posts that allegedly had misinformation and held “Be On the Look Out” meetings where the CDC could provide examples of what the government agency claimed was “misinformation” with the social media company, according to internal agency emails first reported by The Washington Free Beacon. The CDC also sent Twitter some recommended language involving the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), according to the documents, pointing out that a report to VAERS was not proof the vaccine caused an injury.
Twitter also told the CDC in an email that coordination to address what the CDC considered vaccine misinformation would be “tricky” due to upcoming Congressional testimony by the company’s CEO.
Facebook and the CDC also coordinated to addresses alleged misinformation, with the CDC reportedly sending links to the social media giant to posts that contained what the government agency called misinformation, according to the emails. Facebook also reportedly gave the CDC $15 million in advertising credits.
“This gift will be used by CDC’s COVID-19 response to support the agency’s messages on Facebook, and extend the reach of COVID-19-related Facebook content, including messages on vaccines, social distancing, travel, and other priority communication messages,” a CDC memo regarding the ads reads.
The CDC also requested that Facebook not block state health department posts about vaccines that were being labeled as misinformation, according to internal communications.
Google and the CDC also worked together, with the technology company agreeing to promote the CDC’s vaccine page in search result, according to internal emails. The agency also coordinated fact-checking with Google to address “misinformation” about vaccines and “infodemiology.”
“These explosive smoking-gun documents, obtained as a result of America First Legal’s litigation against the Biden Administration, conclusively demonstrate that Big Tech has unlawfully colluded with the federal government to silence, censor, and suppress Americans’ free speech and violate their First Amendment rights,” America First Legal president Stephen Miller said in the statement.
“Government is expressly prohibited from censoring competing or dissenting viewpoints or from silencing its political opponents whether it does so directly or whether it uses an outside corporation to achieve its draconian, totalitarian ends,” Miller continued.
Twitter declined to comment when contacted by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Google, Facebook, the White House and the CDC did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the DCNF.