Brownstone » Brownstone Institute Articles » The Government Conspired with Big Tech to Infringe on Free Speech
Bottom line: the government conspired

The Government Conspired with Big Tech to Infringe on Free Speech


The defenders of censorship hate the sunlight from @elonmusk. They complain “but Twitter was a private company!” 

US case law throws cold water on this defense! “A fundamental principle of the First Amendment is that all persons have access to places where they can speak and listen.” Packingham vs NC.

Bottom line: the government conspired to remove valid public health messages and social media posts by myself and others, because they disagreed with the viewpoint which contradicted the federal government’s COVID-19 public health message and views.

OpEd in the WSJ about Twitter censoring Jay Bhattacharya
OpEd in the WSJ about Twitter censoring Jay Bhattacharya

It is the policy of the United States “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet” that is “unfettered by Federal or State regulation.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(b)(2).

US Policy

“While in the past there may have been difficulty in identifying the most important places… for the exchange of views, today the answer is clear. It is cyberspace — the ‘vast democratic forums of the Internet’ in general… and social media in particular.” Packingham vs NC

The federal government publicly criticized and exerted pressure on Twitter/META and other platforms for allowing views opposed to the federal government’s COVID-19 public health message to be posted on the Internet.”

White House Briefing
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, July 15, 2021

In private communications, the federal government held regular BOLO “be-on-the-lookout” warning meetings with social media companies and overtly instructed them on the specific types of so called COVID-19 “disinformation” or “misinformation” that should be excluded from their platforms.

BOLO Be on the lookout meetings

Twitter and Facebook even adjusted their policies and algorithms on valid public health messages and acceptable viewpoints on the Internet to align with the federal government pre-approved COVID-19 public health message and viewpoint. 

Here’s the infographic which triggered my account suspension by Facebook. Every single point here is valid and backed by data, articles and peer-reviewed studies.

Masking Children

Facebook further acquiesced under duress by giving the government agencies millions of dollars in free advertising on their platforms so the government’s COVID-19 public health message would not be challenged on the Internet.

discriminatory collusion

This is discriminatory collusion between private social media companies and the federal government. “It is axiomatic that the government may not regulate speech based on its substantive content or the message it conveys.” Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors of the Univ. of Va.

Under the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment, “discrimination against speech because of its message is presumed to be unconstitutional.” 

A conspiracy between private and governmental actors satisfies the joint action test when they have had a “meeting of the minds” to “violate constitutional rights.” Fonda v. Gray, 707 F. 2d 435, 438 (9th Cir. 1983)

When a government actor has “so far insinuated itself into a position of interdependence” with private actors it is recognized as a joint participant in the challenged constitutional deprivation. See Gorenc v. Salt River Project Agr. Imp. & Power Dist., 869 F. 2d 503, 507

Such joint action between government and private parties transforms private actors into state actors. See Pasadena Republican Club v. W. Justice Ctr., 985 F. 3d 1161, 1167 (9th Cir. 2021).

When the federal government admits to conspiring with social media companies to censor messages on the Internet with which it disagrees both the government and the private companies are guilty of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. 

Joint action exists where the government . . . encourages . . . unconstitutional conduct through its involvement with a private party . . . .” Ohno v. Yasuma, 723 F.3d 984, 996 (9th Cir. 2013).

Joint action further occurs when there is “substantial cooperation” between the private and state actors, or their actions were “inextricably intertwined.” Brunette v. Humane Society of Ventura Cnty., 294 F. 3d 1205, 1211 (9th Cir. 2002).

In short, don’t get gaslit! The government pressured Twitter to confirm and it did so infringing our rights!

Republished from the author’s Substack

Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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  • Justin Hart

    Justin Hart is an executive consultant with over 25 years experience creating data-driven solutions for Fortune 500 companies and Presidential campaigns alike. Mr. Hart is the Chief Data Analyst and founder of which helps companies, public policy officials, and even parents gauge the impact of COVID-19 across the country. The team at offers alternative solutions on how to move forward during this challenging pandemic.

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