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Politico Laments That WhatsApp Isn’t Specifically Targeting Election Speech For Censorship


Politico expressed frustration that Big Tech’s censorship apparatus hasn’t yet been fully deployed against election speech on WhatsApp Channels.

Politico‘s tech policy reporter Rebecca Kern lamented in a piece on Friday that WhatsApp Channels, which allows users to make public posts, not just communicate within private chats, has no “explicit election-disinformation policies.” The outlet cited “lawmakers, disinformation experts and former Meta employees” to parrot concerns that such a lack of speech-policing “could pose grave risks in a year when nearly half the globe is casting major votes.”

WhatsApp is owned by Meta, which also owns Facebook, Instagram, and Threads. Meta’s other platforms have what Politico euphemistically describes as “clear guardrails” against “election misinformation.” Some of those “guardrails” include censorship of content that Meta deems “likely to directly contribute to interference with the functioning of political processes and certain highly deceptive manipulated media,” according to Meta policy.

This “content” has sometimes included true information. Famously, with help from the FBI, Facebook throttled the New York Post’s bombshell reporting about the Hunter Biden laptop, treating it as “potentially misinformation.” The laptop and its contents were entirely true and have most recently been used by federal prosecutors as evidence in Hunter Biden’s trial on gun crime charges.

But because the federal government isn’t doing enough to shut down protected speech, Politico fretted, it must fall to Big Tech companies. “With few misinformation laws in place, and no federal regulations in the U.S., users rely on social media platforms’ enforcement of their policies to protect them from election falsehoods,” the outlet lamented.

WhatsApp partners with more than 50 so-called “fact-checking” groups and told Politico it “can remove content and revoke accounts that violate its community guidelines.” But that’s not enough censorship for Politico’s taste.

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The outlet cited Russia collusion hoaxer Rep. Adam Schiff to demand WhatsApp Channels censor so-called “election misinformation” — which often means information that’s inconvenient for Democrats — ahead of the election because if they don’t, “democratic processes in the United States and across the globe” would be threatened. Similarly, chairman of the sham Jan. 6 committee Rep. Bennie Thompson told Politico he hopes Meta will create and enforce rules against disfavored election speech to “protect democratic institutions, especially the right to vote and have confidence in election results” — because nothing screams “confidence in election results” like censoring speech about them.

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