The Biden Administration’s State Department has provided funding to, and actively partnered with, a United Kingdom-based think tank that advocates for censoring conservative accounts on social media.
The Daily Caller reports that, in September of 2021, the State Department awarded a grant to the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which advertises itself as a research group that attempts to combat so-called disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech online. But the ISD almost exclusively targets right-wing and conservative accounts in its efforts.
In awarding the grant to the ISD, the State Department declared it to be for the purpose of “advancing the development of promising and innovative technologies against disinformation and propaganda” in Europe and the U.K. The ISD received the grant after winning an event called the U.S.-Paris Tech Challenge, which was held in conjunction with other left-wing think tanks, activist groups, and government agencies; the collaborators included the “U.S. Embassy [in] Paris, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab), the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).”
A similar grant was also awarded to the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), which similarly supports censorship by advocating for demonetization of conservative news sites.
In a statement, the State Department confirmed that its Global Engagement Agency had indeed provided funding to ISD through a grant to Park Advisors, but claimed that it had done so for the purpose of researching alleged Russian disinformation efforts against the far-left Wikipedia.
“By funding organizations – including foreign organizations, no less – that put their thumbs on the scale of hot-button domestic political debates, the federal government is wading into a dangerous Constitutional minefield,” said Michael Chamberlain, director of the government watchdog group Protect the Public’s Trust. “The government cannot get around First Amendment restrictions by outsourcing or using surrogates or agents for prohibited activities.”
“The State Department’s partnership with the ISD is problematic at best and unconstitutional at worst,” said Mike Davis, president of the Internet Accountability Project. “Taxpayer dollars essentially funding the censorship of conservatives under the guise of ‘misinformation’ shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s followed the Biden administration’s assault on the marketplace of ideas.”