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AOC Admits Big Tech’s Algorithmic Meddling Is ‘Election Interference’

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez is right that those who weaponize Big Tech algorithms to control discourse are guilty of ‘election interference.’


New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez reportedly admitted on Tuesday that Big Tech platforms “changing the algorithms” to promote or suppress speech is a form of “election interference.”

Tucker Carlson detailed a “classified briefing” that took place Tuesday with officials from the Department of Justice in attendance, as well as Ocasio-Cortez.

“In a classified briefing this afternoon, attended by officials from the Biden Justice Department, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed that Elon committed ‘election interference’ in 2022 by ‘changing the algorithms’ on X to alter the results of the midterms that year,” Carlson posted on X.

X CEO Elon Musk, who purchased Twitter in 2022 after the satirical website The Babylon Bee had its account suspended for months, responded to the post, saying “Actually, I made the algorithm open source and neutral to all parties, but of course that *is* ‘election interference’ by her standards.”

AOC’s ire is misdirected. It’s not like Musk suppressed a bombshell report weeks before the 2020 election or shut down the Twitter accounts of journalists and White House officials who posted the story. But she’s right that the people who did that — and who have weaponized Big Tech algorithms in a host of other ways to control discourse — are guilty of “election interference.”

Censorship Revealed in the ‘Twitter Files’

Upon his takeover, Musk released troves of emails and data showing how Twitter was working with federal agencies behind the scenes in the lead-up to its decision to suspend accounts, including the New York Post’s, for sharing an explosive report sourced to Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop. Other documents in the “Twitter Files” revealed the Big Tech platform had been secretly shadowbanning conservatives for years, and had “created blacklists designed to prevent certain accounts or posts from trending.”

A report later released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government outlined how the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) schemed with the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP) to pressure Twitter to target people like The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and Sean Davis for censorship.

The EIP was comprised of “‘disinformation’ academics led by Stanford University’s Stanford Internet Observatory” that worked with CISA — the “nerve center” of federal censorship operations — and GEC to “monitor and censor Americans’ online speech in advance of the 2020 presidential election.”

The operation sought to censor speech including “true information, jokes and satire, and political opinions.”

A Nov. 4, 2020 tweet by Hemingway in which she detailed how Georgia insiders said it was “ridiculous [the] media are refusing to admit Trump has won the state” was flagged by the operation. The tweet included a link to an Insider Advantage article that called the Peach State for Trump.

Hemingway was again flagged four days later after linking to a Federalist article entitled “America Won’t Trust Elections Until The Voter Fraud Is Investigated.” Her post was flagged as “misinformation” by the EIP.

Davis was flagged by EIP for two Nov. 4 tweets in which he reported that Pennsylvania’s left-wing Supreme Court “gave Pennsylvania Democrats a license to print post-election ballots, fill them out for Biden over the next three days, and record them without a postmark.”

His second tweet said “The absolute best evidence right now that Democrats, media, and Big Tech are conspiring to steal the election is Big Tech censoring anyone and everyone who observes that Big Tech is using corrupt censorship to steal the election for Democrats.”

Facebook Throttles ‘Distribution’

Facebook also throttled circulation of the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story, with policy communications director Andy Stone posting on Twitter the day the story was released that Facebook was “reducing its distribution on our platform.” Stone said he would not “intentionally link” to the story but said the story was “eligible” for fact-checkers to review.

The decision meant, according to NPR, that “the platform’s algorithms won’t place posts linking to the story as highly in people’s news feeds, reducing the number of users who see it.”

Facebook executive Nick Clegg admitted on CNN in 2021 that Facebook also rigs the algorithm to hide what it decides is “extreme content, hate speech and misinformation.” Of course, Facebook treated the very real Hunter Biden laptop story as potential “misinformation,” as CEO Mark Zuckerberg told podcast host Joe Rogan.

[READ NEXT: After Using ‘Russia’ Lies To Meddle In 2016 And 2020, Agencies Dust Off Playbook For 2024]

“These algorithms are designed precisely to work almost like giant spam filters to identify and deprecate bad content,” Clegg told CNN.

Facebook’s speech control has shown no signs of stopping. Meta board member Pamela San Martín told Wired in a recent interview that Facebook didn’t do “enough” to censor Americans ahead of the 2020 election.

“Even though we’re addressing the problems that arose in prior elections as a starting point, it is not enough,” San Martín said. “Between the U.S. election [in 2020] to the Brazilian election [in 2022], Meta had not done enough to address the potential misuse of its platforms through coordinated campaigns, people organizing, or using bots on the platforms to convey a message to destabilize a country, to create a lack of trust or confidence on electoral processes.”

San Martín admitted to Wired that Meta’s “algorithms … can play a part” in the “protection” of “electoral processes.”

Chilling Freedom of the Press

Algorithmic meddling and other forms of suppression are used to blacklist alternative media outlets too, not just individual accounts. And sometimes, corporate media outlets help the Big Tech censors.

For example, in 2020 NBC News, with the help of a foreign left-wing group, tried to get Google to demonetize The Federalist. The supposed reason was that the comments section — which was run by a third party and not moderated by The Federalist — allegedly violated Google’s policy.

Except Google didn’t inform The Federalist. Instead, NBC News published an article claiming Google had decided to demonitize the site, after which Google informed NBC News its story was false. Only after The Federalist “sought guidance” from Google did the Big Tech platform tell The Federalist that actually, the comment section would have to be changed in order to avoid demonization.

Meanwhile organizations like “NewsGuard,” which is funded by taxpayers, routinely target conservative sites like The Federalist for allegedly being unreliable but gives rave reviews to left-wing outlets that have promulgated debunked government-fed propaganda.

NewsGuard gave Politico, The Washington Post and USA Today “flawless 100/100 scores” despite those outlets furthering the false narrative that the Hunter Biden laptop story was “Russian disinformation,” an analysis by the Media Research Center (MRC) found.

Yet The Federalist received a 12.5/100 score partially because, according to the MRC, The Federalist questioned “the efficacy of masks for COVID-19.”

“NewsGuard wields its ratings as a cudgel, attempting to scare away advertisers from doing business with media and organizations that have been accused of promoting so-called ‘misinformation’ or wrongthink on a whole host of issues like abortion, climate change, COVID-19 and elections,” the MRC detailed.

“In so doing, NewsGuard effectively strips media outlets with which it disagrees of their ad money, slowly bleeding out their coffers.”

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