Watchdog Group Pushes Google, YouTube’s Parent Company For Government Censorship Demands

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An ethics watchdog is using shareholder activism to try to gain insight into whether the Biden administration has essentially outsourced Google and Youtube censorship.

“We have filed a proposal for shareholder review to require Alphabet to produce a report on whether anyone in the government has asked them to remove content,” said Peter Flaherty, president of the National Legal and Policy Center, at FOX Business.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California on October 28, 2021.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California on October 28, 2021. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images/Getty Images)

In January, the National Legal and Policy Center filed a shareholder resolution calling on Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google and YouTube, to disclose demands from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies or federal entities regarding taking information.

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The NLPC owns shares in Alphabet, the parent company of Google and YouTube. Flaherty said he expects Alphabet to apply to the Securities and Exchanges Commission for permission to omit the resolution from consideration by its shareholders. He said it was clearly in the public interest to know whether “the government imposes censorship” on two of the internet’s most used sites.

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Last July, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the administration was trying to combat misinformation about COVID-19.[feminine en ligne.

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“Nous sommes en contact régulier avec ces plateformes de médias sociaux, et ces engagements se produisent généralement par l’intermédiaire de membres de notre personnel senior, mais également de membres de notre équipe COVID-19, étant donné, comme le Dr. [Vivek] Murthy let it be known that this is a big misinformation issue, especially about the pandemic,” psaki said journalists at the time.

Joe Rogan

Joe Rogan (Vivian Zink/Syfy/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images/Getty Images)

This month, PSAKI, answering a question about popular podcast host Joe Rogan, hurry Spotify and tech companies do more to combat “misinformation” about COVID-19.

The chances of success for shareholder resolutions are often slim, but the issue can generate public pressure for a company. However, leftist groups have successfully used such resolutions to force issues such as carbon disclosure and board diversity.

“Shareholders demand that Alphabet Inc. … provide a report, posted on the company’s website and updated semi-annually – and omitting proprietary information and at a reasonable cost – that sets out the company’s policy in response to requests to remove or remove material from its platforms by the Executive Office of the President, the Centers for Disease Control, or any other United States government agency or entity,” the NLPC shareholder resolution reads.

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The resolution continues: “Shareholders should know whether the company is cooperating with government officials engaged in unconstitutional actions and censorship, opening the company up to victim liability claims. Shareholders should also be aware if the company does not disclose these potential liabilities as material risks in its public filings.”

YouTube app and YouTube Kids app displayed on an iPhone in New York City.

YouTube app and YouTube Kids app displayed on an iPhone in New York City. (AP Photo/AP Newsroom)

Alphabet did not respond to numerous inquiries for this story.

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The NLPC resolution cites a 1963 Supreme Court decision in the case Bantam Books, Inc. vs. Sullivan “that private entities cannot engage in speech suppression at the request of the government, as it has the same effect as direct government censorship.” The case involved a Rhode Island state law that authorized a commission to advise publishers and book distributors on material it deemed unsuitable for young readers. Book distributors pulled books from circulation rather than face penalties.

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Although not mentioned in the resolution, the 1999 Supreme Court decision in Hanlon c. Shepherd has been cited as a relevant case on the entanglement of media and government regarding private actors. The issue before the court was whether federal agents could violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure by allowing the media to accompany and observe the execution of a search warrant. The judges ruled that “police violate homeowners’ Fourth Amendment rights when they allow members of the media to accompany them while executing a warrant at their home.” CNN – whose crew was on a ride with US Fish and Wildlife Officers – was still a defendant and settled the case out of court in 2001.

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