August 4, 2021 – Justin Hart, founder of RationalGround.com and author of the forthcoming book “Gone Viral: How Covid Drove the World Insane,” and Daniel Suhr, Managing Attorney at Liberty Justice Center, appeared on Fox News @ Night with host Shannon Bream to discuss recent updates in Hart v. Facebook.
Liberty Justice Center is representing Hart in the federal lawsuit against Facebook, Twitter, President Joe Biden, and the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for violating Hart’s First Amendment right to free speech.
SHANNON BREAM: It has been almost a full year since a lawsuit was filed against Facebook, Twitter, and President Biden on behalf of a data analyst who said his social media accounts were suspended multiple times for sharing COVID related data and scientific research that challenged the official views endorsed by the Biden Administration.
Let’s talk about this censorship case and other legal fights to uncover whether there was improper coordination between the Biden Administration and social media platforms with Digital Strategist Justin Hart and Liberty Justice Center Managing Attorney Daniel Suhr.
So you guys have an update on the case that’s been going on for a while. You filed in federal court. Justin, you have been pushed for FOIA or Freedom of Information requests to show if there were conversations or collusion of some kind between these social media giants and the Biden Administration, what have you found?
JUSTIN HART: Well, Shannon, we now believe we have evidence of the government working very closely with social media companies to censor Americans. These government agencies have been dragging their feet on these public record requests for months and years now. And we’ve finally gotten a flood of these emails through us and other entities and they show a deep tie of networks, weekly coordination of executives, multiple meetings where they’re pointing out posts and accounts that they don’t agree with and having those social media companies take those posts and accounts taken down.
When I filed my lawsuit, it was because shortly after the time that Jen Psaki, the then press secretary of the White House, made a public statement over the White House pulpit where she admitted that they were working with tech companies to make these very actions. My account on Facebook was frozen, my account on Twitter was taken down after that. It was only through actions with Daniel [Suhr] and the Liberty Justice Center that I was able to get some of this back and now we have this lawsuit ongoing. And these new FOIA requests, we’ve received just this week thousands of documents that we are pouring through, I think these tell a very egregious story against First Amendment rights of American citizens.
SHANNON BREAM: Okay Daniel, the Administration will say, of course we wanted social media giants to take down what we viewed as harmful or dangerous information. Clearly, we know a lot now about COVID than we did then. But their argument is going to be that we were trying to do what was in the public’s best interest. How do you respond?
DANIEL SUHR: The right response to censorship is not to rationalize it, it’s to stand up to it. That’s what Justin’s doing. He’s standing up to censorship.
One of things we’ve seen over the course of this pandemic is the science changes, the explanations evolve, and that’s why it’s so important that we have transparent information and transparent government data and that Americans can engage on social media and in the public square to discuss the policy decisions that are being made that are limiting so many of our freedoms and liberties. We need to trust the American people and the best way to do that is more information and more speech, not government censorship, and government mandating a monopoly with only its message that it thinks is right at this moment.
SHANNON BREAM: So part of what’s happened with your lawsuit is that there was an order granting a partial motion to dismiss some of these claims that you had against Facebook and Twitter and the federal defendants. Back in May, the judge in granting that motion to dismiss this: “Hart’s sole federal claim against Facebook and Twitter is a First Amendment claim that requires alleging that they engaged in state action. The Court dismisses this claim because Hart fails to do so plausibly…The Ninth Circuit recently reaffirmed that a ‘private entity hosting speech on the Internet is not a state actor’ subject to the Constitution…”
JUSTIN HART: Social media platforms are private companies, they’re going to do what they want, one would hope they might adhere to the basic tenants of Western democracies that gave birth to them, but our case is being made that our protections of the first amendment are against the government trying to censor me by using these companies as proxies.
In these emails that came out by the CDC…they show again and again, weekly conversations where they point to posts and posts are taken down. In one email conversation, a senior director at the CDC said this post was taken down, but the account is still up. We have multiple friends on our side who were doing this evaluation of analysis and data whose accounts have been frozen, are still frozen. And we now know there might have been some distinct collusion between the government calling out balls and strikes, which is not their job when it comes to free speech.