U.S. government asks Apple, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter to ensure online platforms are not used to spur violence

The U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) sent a letter to chief executives of five large tech companies — Apple, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter — asking them to ensure social media platforms are not used to incite violence.

David Shepardson and Nandita Bose for Reuters:

U.S. DHS asks Apple, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and Twitter to ensure online platforms are not used to spur violence“I am writing to ask you to do your part to put an end to violence and illegal activity spreading across our country by ensuring that your platforms are not used as a tool to organize, facilitate, or incite dangerous or deadly riots, in violation of state and local laws,” Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in the letter.

Wolf said the department supports First Amendment rights that allow citizens to freely express themselves but cautioned against social media being weaponized to perpetuate criminal activity.

“The misuse of social media platforms to coordinate criminal acts threatens the safety and security of our nation,” Wolf wrote, adding: “the department supports the powerful voice that social media provides to its users.”

He asked Facebook, Twitter, Alphabet’s Google, Snapchat and Apple to help end information sharing on how to break city curfews, which stores or neighborhoods to target for looting or destruction, and for the coordination of attacks against particular people or groups of people.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple is likely lumped in there with social networks due to the App Store, we guess, since they have no access to encrypted Messages in their iMessage service. (Unless this intended to be be used as another pretext to try to get Apple to install “backdoors” into iOS/iPadOS.)

26 Comments

  1. Proof that this administration has no regard for civil liberties. Proof?
    Organizing online is the easiest way to spot organization, what they want is to impede organizing.

    1. No, they only want to stop some organizing. When the social media tried to limit right-wing incitements to discrimination and violence, the Govenment called it censorship and threatened congressional hearings and executive orders. When the same media organizations are seen as being insufficient in limiting left-wing messages, the Government calls it unpatriotic and threatens congressional hearings and executive orders.

      When armed protesters invaded state capitols to intimidate their governors and legislatures, all the Government did is urge the protesters to “liberate” their states. There has been almost complete silence for almost three years about the white nationalists behind most acts of political terrorism across that period. Instead, we have approving retweets of white men in golf carts chanting “white power.” Protests on behalf of the Fourteenth Amendment have been treated entirely differently than those on behalf of the Second Amendment.

      Well, there is a First Amendment, and it squarely prevents the Government from regulating the rights to speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition based on the content of the message.


    2. Wolf said the department supports First Amendment rights that allow citizens to freely express themselves but cautioned against social media being weaponized to perpetuate criminal activity.”

      Did you miss this and what part do you not understand. Both goals can be achieved maintaining freedom of speech and not perpetuating violence with flash mob organizers and ANTIFA activists…

    1. Invite them to your house. There are probably fewer than 100 people in the United States who would call themselves “Antifa,” with a few hundred others who cooperate from time to time. It might be hard to call the meeting, though, since those individuals are in a number of loosely-organized local groups with no leadership above that level. The notion that there is some huge Antifa organization with central discipline is up there with Senator McCarthy’s list of Communists in the government. Yes, there are bad anarchists that do bad things, but the government has a history of ignoring much larger movements that have committed much more violence.

      To repeat, the First Amendment prohibits the government from regulating expression unevenly on the basis of its content.

      1. What a joke….(deflection, conflation and exaggeration alert)

        Technically, they may not be antifa-branded club members, but to try to roll-off #100 members as any explanation, or retort, makes me think YOU THINK you are talking to idiots.

        What’s happening across the world, involving destruction, violence and intimidation isn’t catalyzed by pure justice-seeking, racial-peace hungering and world-bettering folks. True, they may not be members from Club A, B and C with antifa rank designation, but the modus operandi of fomenting is, let’s just say, uncanny in similarity. To defend, dismiss, rationalize, or whatever deflection tactic you pull out of your well-worn bag, is inexplicable.
        Though you just can’t say it, your beloved BLM group, has a much larger and defined club “membership” and ALOT of what defines antifa is embraced by BLM.

        No conflation please…you’re talking in the wrong direction if govt’s trash actions, or inaction are ANY explanation for the words above. One does not excuse the other.

        1. I just saw it…

          “few hundred others who cooperate from time to time”

          Yeah, just some folks out for a stroll and they’re up for makin’ a change in the neighborhood. Very folksy…they are. Jus hopin’ for a change in this great democracy of ours.

          You just can’t help yourself, can you?

          1. No, he cannot. Well said, BTW.

            He pulls figures out of his liberal arse, closes his eyes and denies the Antifa problem exists.

            This is the simply the latest garden variety meme in liberal brainwashing attempts that only FOOL the misinformed and intellectually challenged.

            https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/X56rQkDgd0qqB7R68t6t7C/seven-things-you-need-to-know-about-antifa

            If you go to their Facebook page, they have chapters around the country.

            https://www.facebook.com/antifa.usa/

            According to several news reports they are non-card carrying Antifa members for a reason to HIDE their identity, also wearing masks (MO), and heavily involved in violent protests across the nation…

            1. Did you actually read the BBC article? There was nothing that contradicted what I posted. It says that the primary activity of the loose Antifa cells is organizing counter-protests to scheduled right-wing events (hence the name “anti-fascist”). More often than not, there are more of the rightists committing violent acts than the leftists. The majority of terrorist crime in the US comes from white nationalists and their allies. Yet the Government is focusing on the leftists while ignoring the greater danger. The constitution requires neutrality.

              Violence is violence and I condemn it all, but it is wasteful of taxpayer resources to focus on a lesser threat when the government has been ignoring the much greater problems caused by white nationalism and official bias.

              There are no “card carrying Antifa members” because the notion of an anarchist group with a central authority is a contradiction in terms. Anybody can start a Facebook page.

            2. In response to TxUser on Monday, June 29, 2020 at 11:26 pm

              USER: “Did you actually read the BBC article?”

              You probably did not judging by your post, but of course I read the article and what you posted is false.

              Did you actually go to their Facebook page or any of the affiliate chapters throughout the country — probably not.

              USER: “There are probably fewer than 100 people in the United States who would call themselves “Antifa,”

              USER LIE ONE: More guessing and denial accompanied by zero verifiable proof, links or statistics. Not interested in your liberal opinion and defense of Antifa and BLM radical elements.

              USER: “More often than not, there are more of the rightists committing violent acts than the leftists.”

              USER LIE TWO: Another helping of liberal denial blaming the right accompanied by zero verifiable proof, links or statistics. Yes, some “rightists” joined over 90% of leftists while their numbers were estimated in single digits. I get enough of that media baloney to turn the one percenters, for example, into 99 percenters that we see and read daily from the Democrat Party, CNN and the NYT. Again, not interested in your liberal opinion and denial of reality.

              USER: “The majority of terrorist crime in the US comes from white nationalists and their allies.”

              USER LIE THREE: Unbelievable! We all know lately you have been celebrating the demise of the white population in the USA and worldwide. What I find the most egregious regarding the quote, you have no problem with the overwhelming majority of protestors that are NOT white, destroying property, looting, burning police cars and buildings of business owners of all races, assaulting police and innocent bystanders because of their race. Let me guess that’s not a hate crime in your book, only white commit hate crimes, please correct me if I am wrong. Obviously and sadly you are more concerned with denigrating the minority of protesters who are white and irresponsibility look the other way for the rest because they most likely vote Democrat and belong to liberal groups you support.

              USER: “government has been ignoring the much greater problems caused by white nationalism and official bias.”

              USER LIE FOUR: Like the state governments in Richmond, VA and Harrisburg, PA during two lockdown protests in their respective state capitals a month or two ago? The majority of protestors were white, fully armed with visible so called “assault weapons,” pistols and long guns dressed in scary fatigues and camouflage. That said, many races participated and good to see. Some protestors covered their faces like the rouge anarchists in Antifa and BLM that make both groups look bad. The good news as far as I have read — not one person shot, assaulted, businesses burned or arrests. PEACEFUL and RESPECTFUL protests the NEW gold standard. BTW, is this the same “white nationalism” you are FEARFUL 😧 of while excusing the violent anarchists?

              USER: “Anybody can start a Facebook page.”

              I knew it, you did not read it or investigate and simply dismissed it automatically out of hand DENYING it has anything to do with Antifa. You may be right, you may be wrong. But you choose NOT to know.

              Sorry you can’t handle the truth and facts that do not help Biden. Certainly not a surprise and continue to bury your head in your arse because it makes you feel better…

  2. Perhaps the U.S. government (at least certain portions of it) could stop breaking us up into special interest groups and political identity groups whilst simultaneously lying about their passion for tolerance and inclusion? This might go a long way to helping with violence. Certainly further than a bunch of equally divisive partisan hacks at Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc could.

    Let’s see we’ve got dissident groups from the LGBTQ crowd, to the Black Lives Matter Marxists & Black nationalists, to radical environmentalists, radical feminists, hostile Islamists, socialists, communists, anti-borders illegal immigration proponents, new age Kooks like AOC, your garden variety evil Democrats like Pelosi, to leftist big tech companies, to internal foreign agents, to the unseen hand of the invisible globalist provocateurs acting as puppet master to all of the aforementioned.

    Like a scene from BLACK PANDER 2.

      1. Yeah, you sniveling simp. It’s me.

        “There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

        ― Booker T. Washington

  3. Sad image…esp when the group associated with the “bow” approves of violence and destruction to achieve their goals.

    …and “we” want to partner (be shamed & submit) to this group, a self-avowed Marxist-driven org, to pursue racial equality (wink) that would shock MLK.

    Just put a BLM sign in your front yard and let The Socials guard you and everything will be fixed.

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