Senator Mark Kelly (D-R) asked representatives from the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC) about digital censorship of “social media” during a conference call Sunday on the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.
Representative Thomas Massey (R-KY) confirmed Kelly’s identity among the 200 participants in the Zoom call. After the conference call, he wrote: “Just had a massive meeting with the Fed, Treasury, FDIC, House and Senate. The Democratic senator was essentially asking if there was a social media censorship program that could lead to a bank run.”
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 13, 2023
Massey also wrote that Kelly suggested “the government should work with social media to censor information that could lead to a bank run.”
Rep. Lauren Bobert (R-CO) also noted Kelly’s request for digital censorship as a tool of government control, without mentioning Kelly’s identity. She tweeted:
In a briefing with Biden Deputy Treasury Secretary Nellie Liang regarding the SVB BAILOUT program they are working on, one member asked if they are turning to Facebook and Twitter to monitor misinformation and “bad players.” And this administration AGAIN just ordered the federal government to interfere with free speech. Unacceptable!
In a briefing with Biden Deputy Treasury Secretary Nellie Liang regarding the SVB BAILOUT program they are working on, one member asked if they are turning to Facebook and Twitter to monitor misinformation and “bad players.”
And this administration is AGAIN just…
— Rep. Lauren Bobert (@RepBoebert) March 13, 2023
Massey told Public that Kelly framed his request for online censorship as a tool to limit the communication of foreign entities. He said, “I believe [Kelly] articulated it out of fear that foreign actors would do it,” Massey said. “But he did not propose to limit censorship to foreigners or things that are not true. The people from the three agencies were unable to answer him and simply did not answer the question.”
In the context of the public, Kelly’s “call for censorship” came “at a time of growing Democrats’ demands for increased social media censorship.” He concluded by emphasizing Democrats’ broad hostility to the First Amendment and the broader value of freedom of speech and expression. He asked, “Why is that? Why are Democrats suddenly at war with the First Amendment? What exactly is going on?
Follow Robert Krajczyk on Twitter @rkraychik.