How Social Media Censorship May Impact the 2024 Presidential Election

How Social Media Censorship May Impact the 2024 Presidential Election
A photo shows the logos of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Snapchat. (Denis Charlet/Getty Images)

As we draw closer to the Nov. 8 presidential election, a security expert is predicting how Big Tech might influence Americans to decide who wins another term in the White House.

Andrew Riddaugh served as a key figure in the Presidential Advance team for all four years of President Donald Trump’s term in the White House. His strategic insights and operational expertise supported over 300 domestic and 16 international trips. Today he is the CEO of an independent tech company called Liberation Technology Services.

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Mr. Riddaugh explained how Big Tech appears to be dusting off the same censorship tactics it used to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election cycle—shutting down the accounts of people expressing views outside of the preferred narrative, suppressing stories that might damage President Joe Biden’s campaign—to impact the results in 2024.

“What we saw in 2020 and 2021 was technology companies becoming openly biased,” he said. “We always knew they were liberal-leaning, but they kept a veil of neutrality.”

All of that “went out the window” he said, when news broke about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

About a month before the Nov. 3 presidential election in 2020, the New York Post published an exclusive expose, revealing how a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden—was dropped off and abandoned at a repair shop in then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s hometown of Delaware in April 2019—contained emails, photos, and videos that had the potential to cripple his father’s campaign.

Within days, Antony Blinken—who was a senior official in the Biden campaign and now serves as his Secretary of State—allegedly reached out to former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell. In his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee in April 2023, Mr. Morell confirmed that Mr. Blinken asked him to create a letter to discredit the story and get signatures from senior intelligence figures to back it up.

It’s an allegation Mr. Blinken denies, telling Fox News in May 2023, “It wasn’t my idea, didn’t ask for it, didn’t solicit it.”

A total of 51 former intelligence officials signed that letter, dated Oct. 19, 2020, assuring the public that the contents on the laptop had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”

Politico immediately published a story with the headline, “Hunter Biden story is Russian disinfo, dozens of former intel officials say.”

After Elon Musk purchased Twitter in October 2022, he released the Twitter Files in January 2023. The documents exposed how the social media giant—then under the leadership of creator, co-founder, and chairman Jack Dorsey—coordinated with the government in a private effort to censor the truth.

It wasn’t until three years later that Gary Shapley testified before Congress that the FBI had “verified” the authenticity of the laptop and that a federal computer expert had determined “it was not manipulated in any way.”

It took four years for the DOJ to admit in a court filing that the laptop was legitimate.

A survey released in August 2022 showed that 47 percent of Americans would have voted differently had they known the laptop was real.

‘Across All Fronts’

Since social media platforms played a big role in helping Joe Biden win the presidency in 2020 by suppressing a story that would have changed how many people cast their ballots, Mr. Riddaugh is convinced they will run the same play to help him win reelection in November.

“They’re going to play it across all fronts, starting with email delivery,” he suggested, saying, we already saw how Google engaged in a massive email suppression campaign against the Republican National Committee (RNC) during the 2022 midterms.

In October 2022, the RNC sued Google, accusing the company of discrimination because it was sending the group’s emails to the spam folders of recipients, directly impacting both fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts in crucial swing states.

House Committee on Homeland Security Chairmen Mark Green (R-Tenn.) and Dan Bishop (R-N.C.) sent a letter to the Stanford Internet Observatory on June 14, 2023, asking about the organization’s work with the “Election Integrity Partnership” and the Virality Project to help federal employees flag and suppress social media content related to the 2020 election by labeling it as “misinformation.”

On April 3, Google launched a new artificial intelligence fact-checking system called Search-Augmented Factuality Evaluator (SAFE), which examines content on the internet for “factual correctness.” While faster than humans, a study found that the SAFE program agrees with the crowdsourced human annotators—non-employee individuals who collectively set user filters, upload tasks, and establish quality control rules—72 percent of the time.

“They will start targeting messages they don’t like,” Mr. Riddaugh said, noting how President Biden has already received help from social media platforms to suppress news about the border crisis.

Facebook and Instagram shut down a video by Dr. Phil showing the reality of child trafficking at the southern border, as reported by the Western Journal in March.

The latest Gallup survey revealed that Americans consider immigration to be the biggest problem currently facing the country.

The latest Gallup survey showed that Democrats lagged behind Republicans in enthusiasm for casting their ballots in November, Mr. Riddaugh is also confident that Democrats will expand efforts to coordinate directly with Big Tech to influence public opinion.

“From what I’ve seen in the polling, Democratic candidates are not performing well, and their policies are flopping,” Mr. Riddaugh explained. “So, I think it’s critical for them to control the message and they know censorship is one of the routes they can win with. If Democrats can tightly control the narrative, it makes it easy to influence how people will think and vote.”

A perfect example, Mr. Riddaugh noted, was how the Biden administration controlled the topic of COVID-19.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki even admitted at a July 16, 2021, press briefing that the administration was “in regular touch with the social media platforms” to censor “misinformation, specifically on the pandemic.”

In 2021, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had their YouTube accounts suspended for violating the platforms’ COVID-19 policy. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) had her Facebook account suspended for the same reason, and after multiple suspensions of her Twitter account for violating the platform’s COVID-19 policies, her account was permanently shut down on Jan. 2, 2022.

While a federal judge blocked the Biden administration from contacting social media companies on July 4, 2023, the Supreme Court paused that ruling on Oct. 20, 2023, and agreed to hear the administration’s appeal.

While plaintiffs argue that the administration’s effort is a violation of free speech, President Biden argued that blocking his administration from communicating with social media companies interferes with “lawful government conduct relating to Defendants’ law enforcement responsibilities, obligations to protect the national security, and prerogative to speak on matters of public concern.”

As we move closer to the Nov. 5 general election, Mr. Riddaugh suggests tech companies will use a variety of tactics to control the narrative.

“They will deplatform candidates, organizations, and businesses for their political positions,” he proposed. “If there’s a news article they don’t agree with, like the New York Post Hunter laptop story, they will suppress it.”

“Going into 2024 there will be a lot of traps Big Tech companies will set to suppress conservative voices,” he said further. “You saw Democrats working directly with these tech companies to suppress the message of their opposition in 2020. That alone is a massive threat to free and fair elections and trust in the system.”

“The writing is on the wall,” he said. “The Biden administration would not be fighting so hard in the courts to retain their right to coordinate with Silicon Valley if they didn’t believe it helped their cause. That alone is a massive threat to free and fair election and the trust in the system.”

“If you don’t allow Americans to consume both sides of the story and to come to their own conclusions, that’s dangerous,” he proposed. “Look at Russia and China. One of the things they have in common is they control the narrative. It’s a one-sided debate. It’s eerie to see it happening here.”

From The Epoch Times

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