Judicial Watch announced today that it received 540 pages and a supplemental four pages of documents from the office of the Secretary of State of California revealing how state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google, and YouTube) to censor posts regarding the 2020 election.
Responding to the December report, Dresner said, “We don’t take down posts, that is not our role to play,” She continued, “We alert potential sources of misinformation to the social media companies and we let them make that call based on community standards they created.”
Included in the treasure trove of documents were “misinformation briefings” emails that were compiled by communications firm SKDK, that lists Biden for President as their top client of 2020.
The documents show how a California state agency successfully pressured YouTube to censor a Judicial Watch video concerning the vote by mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement about California voter roll clean up.
The records were obtained in response to Judicial Watch’s open records request. Judicial Watch filed the requests after a December 2020 report surfaced that the a California state agency was surveilling, tracking, and seeking to censor the speech of Americans:
The December report showed that the California Office of Election Cybersecurity in the California Secretary of State’s office monitored and tracked social media posts, decided if they were misinformation, stored the posts in an internal database coded by threat level, and on 31 different occasions requested posts be removed. The report also reveled that that in 24 cases, the social media companies agreed and either took down the posts or flagged them as misinformation, according to Jenna Dresner, senior public information officer for the Office of Election Cybersecurity.
The newly obtained document shows California state officials contacted YouTube directly to remove the Judicial Watch video on September 24, 2020, and that YouTube seemed to respond by deleting the video on September 27, 2020.
The trove of documents also includes a 30-page “Misinformation Tracking Sheet” which lists social media posts that the office disagrees with and asked the social media companies to remove.
Documents also include emails from California Secretary of State’s Office, Facebook and Twitter from April of 2020. In the emails, the secretary’s office asks the social media companies to remove tweets and posts the government labeled “misinformation.”
The documents further show that Maria Benson, director of communications for the National Association of Secretaries of State emailed the communications directors for Secretaries of State offices that Twitter confirmed that they streamlined their process for government officials to report misinformation: