US

DHS Subdivision Quietly Deleted Video Urging Americans To Report Covid ‘Disinformation’ From Family Members

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

James Lynch Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quietly removed a video instructing people to report family members for spreading “disinformation” online, according to a report by the Foundation for Freedom Online (FFO).

Earlier this year, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), a DHS subdivision, deleted a video from June 2021 tutoring viewers on “countering disinformation” related to the Covid-19 pandemic and reporting their relatives to social media platforms, according to a report by the FFO, a free speech advocacy group. FFO archived the video before CISA deleted it. (RELATED: Government Censors Linked Hunter Biden Laptop Story To Apparent ‘Web Of Falsehoods’ About Joe Biden, Lawsuit Reveals)

WATCH THE VIDEO:

In the cartoon video, CISA depicts a woman named “Susan” looking at a post from her “Uncle Steve” claiming the Covid-19 pandemic is equivalent to the flu. The video criticizes the fictitious post and then advises Americans to look to public health authorities for guidance.

CISA presents another hypothetical post from “Uncle Steve” containing “fake news” misrepresenting government data. The government agency advises Americans to reply to their uncle and then “report” his post to the social media platform he is using, which appears to resemble Facebook.

CISA deleted the video between April 9 and May 9, 2023, internet archives show. The CISA video is also watchable on internet archives.

FFO previously highlighted the video in an August 2022 report. Daily Caller co-founder and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson mentioned the video during an Aug. 29, 2022, segment with then-Republican Arizona Senate Candidate Blake Masters, who is now running for congress.

“DHS now has no defense to a Supreme Court injunction prohibiting them from future domestic censorship activity. If DHS is deleting evidence of its past behavior today, it should have no problem with a court order today barring such activity in the future,” FFO Executive Director Mike Benz told the Daily Caller.

CISA “disinformation” video (Screenshot, Foundation for Freedom Online, Rumble)

The Supreme Court is set to hear the landmark Missouri v. Biden free speech lawsuit on whether the federal government can coerce social media platforms into removing certain types of speech. In July, a district court judge issued an injunction preventing the federal government from working with social media platforms to censor speech because of First Amendment concerns.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals narrowed the injunction in September while upholding the lower court’s finding that the federal government was violating the First Amendment. A month later, the Fifth Circuit expanded its injunction to include CISA.

The Supreme Court stayed the Fifth Circuit injunction as it prepares to hear the Missouri v. Biden case. Nonetheless, the FBI is altering how it interacts with social media companies to comply with the court ruling, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified in October.

CISA was spotlighted in a House Judiciary Committee report released on Nov. 6 highlighting the coordination between government agencies, nonprofit organizations and social media platforms to censor speech ahead of the 2020 presidential election. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: DHS ‘Misinformation’ Panel Dismissed Concerns Over Speech Crackdown As ‘Bad Faith’)

CISA and its third party affiliate, the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), used a process known as “switchboarding” to receive censorship requests from election officials and flag them for social media companies, the report found.

The FBI and State Department also worked with third parties to pressure social media companies into censoring speech in the lead up to the 2020 election, according to the Judiciary Committee report.

CISA similarly partnered with nonprofit organizations and social media platforms on censorship operations during the 2022 election cycle, the House Judiciary revealed in a June report.

CISA did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.