(USA Features) House Republicans ripped into President Joe Biden and his administration after White House officials indicated last week they are working with social media platforms including Facebook to remove COVID-19 “misinformation.”
A letter written by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and signed by 190 House GOP members sent to Biden accused the administration of attempting to suppress information that runs counter to the White House’s narratives on COVID-19 and vaccines.
“The federal government’s ongoing efforts to pressure private companies to censor speech that it disagrees with is alarming and an affront to the First Amendment,” the letter, obtained by Fox News, states.
“It is the type of behavior we would expect from a Cuban dictator, not a President of the United States,” it says.
The three top GOP members in the House — Leader Kevin McCarthy, Whip Steve Scalise and Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik — also signed the letter.
The correspondents comes after White House officials said earlier this week they were working with social media companies to have them remove content deemed to be “misinformation.”
On Tuesday, Kate Bedingfield, the White House director of communications, said social media companies ought to be held accountable for allowing so-called misinformation to be published on their platforms.
She added that the administration is reviewing Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which prevents social media companies from being held liable like media outlets and other publishers, for content others publish on their platforms.
“Social media companies have a responsibility,” she told MSNBC earlier this week. “We’re reviewing that and certainly they should be held accountable.
“It is also the responsibility of the people creating the content,” she continued, going on to blame “conservative outlets” for putting out misinformation.
“Again I go back to there are conservative news outlets creating irresponsible content sharing misinformation about the virus that’s getting shared on these platforms,” she claimed.
Also this week during an impromptu interview on his way out of the White House, Biden claimed that Facebook is “killing people.”
Facebook pushed back the following day in a post from Guy Rosen, a company vice president.
“The data shows that 85% of Facebook users in the US have been or want to be vaccinated against COVID-19,” he wrote.
“President Biden’s goal was for 70% of Americans to be vaccinated by July 4. Facebook is not the reason this goal was missed,” Rosen added.
Democrats in Congress have also introduced legislation to make tech firms liable for any misinformation on their platforms which they fail to remove.
But in their letter, Republicans say that the government should not be in the business of policing speech, as per the First Amendment.
“This is the problem with your censorship mission,” they wrote. “Not only are you attacking the First Amendment, but your ‘truth’ might be wrong.”