Hawley accuses Biden of using vaccine misinformation talking points from ‘foreign dark money group’

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said a “foreign dark money group” is behind the Biden administration’s assertion that 12 social media personalities are responsible for the majority of vaccine misinformation online. 

“For days now, the Biden’s Administration has said 12 people are ‘guilty’ of spreading #COVID19 ‘misinformation’ on social media. Who compiled this list for them? The Center for Countering Digital Hate. A foreign dark money group,” Hawley tweeted on Tuesday.

“This is the same dark money group that tried to have the conservative @FDRLST deplatformed[sic] last year. And they’ve gone after other conservative sites as well, like @BreitbartNews,” Hawley continued.

“But who is funding this overseas dark money group – Big Tech? Billionaire activists? Foreign governments? We have no idea. Americans deserve to know what foreign interests are attempting to influence American democracy,” he added.

The Center for Countering Digital Hate, founded by Imran Ahmed, reported in March that 12 social media accounts were responsible for 65% of vaccine misinformation. Ahmed describes himself as “a recognized authority on the social and psychological dynamics of social media.”

The Center for Countering Digital Hate “works with experts in diverse fields to counter violent extremism in whatever form it takes — whether the issue is antisemitism, racism, hate towards women, or anti-vaxxers that profit from lies,” the organization said in a statement.

Hawley’s accusations come after the White House received criticism for statements made by Press Secretary Jen Psaki about the government working with social media companies to censor content they deemed harmful. She has noted that the majority of misinformation online comes from 12 social media accounts, citing the Center for Countering Digital Hate’s research. 

“We’re regularly making sure social media platforms are aware of the latest narratives, dangerous to public health that we and many other Americans are seeing across all of social and traditional media. And we work to engage with them to better understand the enforcement of social media platform policies,” Psaki said during a press conference. 

Following Psaki’s comments, constitutional scholar and conservative radio host Mark Levin called Trump’s lawsuit against the big tech giants over censorship a “slam dunk.”

“[Jen Psaki] just stated that they are working with Facebook and other social media platforms and telling them what they want them to do,” Levin said. “They can call it disinformation, they can call it whatever they want. That’s quite beside the point. Jen Psaki just made the case for the Trump lawsuit that these are not independent private platforms, these are not independent businesses, these are not independent actors. The Biden Administration [is] working with Facebook.”

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