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Sen. Mark Kelly Wanted Social Media Censorship to Prevent Bank Runs

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) asked representatives from the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation (FDIC) about digital censorship of “social media” during a conference call Sunday regarding the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) confirmed Kelly’s identity from among 200 participants on the Zoom call. After the conference call, he wrote, “Just got off of a zoom meeting with Fed, Treasury, FDIC, House, and Senate. A Democrat Senator essentially asked whether there was a program in place to censor information on social media that could lead to a run on the banks.”

Massie also wrote that Kelly suggested “that government should work with social media companies to censor information that could lead to a run on banks.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) also noted Kelly’s inquiry about digital censorship as a tool of government control without noting Kelly’s identity. She tweeted:

On a briefing with Biden Under Secretary of the Treasury Nellie Liang regarding the SVB BAILOUT they are working towards and a member asked if they were reaching out to Facebook and Twitter to monitor misinformation and “bad actors.” And this administration AGAIN just committed the federal government to interfere with free speech. Unacceptable!

Massie told Public that Kelly framed his request for online censorship as a tool to limit foreign actors’ communications. He said, “I believe [Kelly] couched it in a concern that foreign actors would be doing this,” said Massie. “But he didn’t suggest the censorship should be limited to foreigners or to things that were untrue. The people from the three agencies couldn’t answer him and just sort of took a pass on the question.”

Public contextualized “Kelly’s call for censorship” as coming “at a time of growing demands from Democrats for more censorship by social media companies.” It concluded by emphasizing broad Democrat hostility to the First Amendment and broader value of free speech and expression. It inquired, “Why is that? Why are Democrats suddenly at war with the First Amendment? What exactly is going on?”

Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.

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