Data analyst sues Facebook, Twitter, President
On July 13, 2021, Justin Hart posted a simple, science-based graphic to his Facebook page entitled, “Masking Children is Impractical and Not Backed by Research or Real World Data.”
The next day, Hart received a message from Facebook stating it was suspending his personal account for three days as a result of this post.
Not even all the footnotes to scientific evidence supporting the post’s claim could save Hart from this suspension.
But are we really surprised at this point?
Big Tech and Big Government
Facebook has a history of censoring scientific opinions that turn out to be perfectly valid hypotheses over the last year. Facebook and Twitter were emboldened to unilaterally determine what was fact and fiction about a developing crisis even when science on the matter evolved every day.
The censorship of Americans like Justin by a private company is troubling but the week he was suspended from Facebook, there was a worrisome new player in the censorship of Americans online—the U.S. government.
In a July 15, 2021, press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki revealed that senior White House staff “is in regular touch” with Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms regarding posts about COVID-19, while the Surgeon General’s office is “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread” what the administration has declared as “disinformation.” The administration simultaneously released a blacklist of individuals it declared as “super-disseminators” of so-called COVID “disinformation“ or “misinformation.”
Now these dominant social media platforms and the White House are openly collaborating to eliminate social media posts about COVID-19 that the administration finds objectionable, and to cancel or suspend the Facebook and Twitter accounts of people who raise issues about COVID they don’t want the public to see.
About Justin Hart
Hart is an executive consultant with over 25 years’ experience creating data-driven solutions for Fortune 500 companies and Presidential campaigns alike. He is the Chief Data Analyst and founder of RationalGround.com, which helps companies, public policy officials, and parents gauge the impact of COVID-19 across the country.
He knows his way around solid science and its implications.
Hart joined Facebook in 2007 under the promise that Facebook would provide him a platform to spread his message on the internet and grow his business. He has relied on this promise to post hundreds, if not thousands of times, to promote his message and his business interests as a social media consultant.
During this time of suspension, he wasn’t able to contact his followers on Facebook. He offers alternative solutions on how to address COVID-19 and he knows of at least one person who attempted to contact him via Facebook to receive help from him but was unable to do so.
What’s more: Hart has had his reputation damaged by having the validity of his posts questioned by the tech giant. Once you’ve been censored by Facebook, it’s hard to regain credibility––no matter how many peer-reviewed scientific studies one references.
Why he’s suing
Justin filed a federal lawsuit in California with help from the Liberty Justice Center because the U.S. Constitution, not White House political operatives in collusion with Big Tech, should set the rules for public dialogue. And those rights allow for people to freely speak their minds no matter how unpopular their comments are with those in power.
“The recent admission that the White House has a team of government workers flagging Americans’ social media posts for removal is extremely disturbing, and it’s illegal,” said Brian Kelsey, managing attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “Regardless of one’s politics or views about COVID, every citizen should be greatly alarmed by this melding of Big Government and Big Tech to control what you see, hear and know about one of the greatest public issues of our time.”
“It’s clear to Americans that what is said at the White House podium isn’t always true, so why do we think it’s acceptable for the government to direct social media companies to censor people on critical issues such as COVID?” Hart said. “Until it happens to you, the average citizen probably has no idea how much excessive control Facebook, Twitter, and others have over our public dialogue. Now, the federal government is working with these companies to stamp out free speech. It’s grossly unconstitutional and it must stop.”