Washington State’s New Censorship Plan
We have previously reported on the attempt of Washington State “elected” officials’ efforts to silence and censor the public. However we have not yet shared with you how the state and county government employees were working with social media platforms to target posts and flag them for removal if they didn’t like the content.
Washington state has hired staff to review social media and work with Twitter and Facebook to get the posts removed by the platform. Kylee Zabel was hired as the Director of Information Security & Response at the OSOS. Records show she was paid a salary of $140,000 to lead this effort.
CISA was also very involved in this effort. A court case was filed by the State of Missouri, the State of Louisiana, and several individual plaintiffs who claimed their first amendment rights were violated by various government organizations along with the social media platforms. A preliminary injunction was issued, limiting the government’s communications with the social media companies on July 4, 2023. Recently, an appeals court extended the scope of the ruling. Download this October 3rd, 2023 ruling below.
Despite this court decision, not much has changed in that regard, except now that a judge decided they were violating the first amendment of those they were censoring, they’ve hired a private company, Logically, to do it for them. It is clearly an attempt to violate our first amendment rights through a private company who isn’t subject to the same public records disclosure requirements and still results in the same outcome of censoring things they disagree with.
Hired Help for Censorship
Based in the United Kingdom and launched in 2019, Logically is a Fact-Checking service that uses artificial intelligence to rate news articles. Logically also has a browser extension that will scan the article you are presently reading and give basic information about the credibility based on the wording and the source. According to their about page, “Logically employs one of the world’s largest dedicated fact-checking teams, working together with AI to provide rigorous, evidence-based fact checks.”
Logically filed as a corporation here in Washington in June of 2023, according to the state’s records. The guy who founded the company was featured in Forbes top 30 under 30. Lyric Jain is 25 years old currently and was just 21 when the company was started. He works with governments here in the US, the UK and India. Mainly focusing on election, vaccine, and other “misinformation” the government determines does not line up with their narrative.
According to an article, Lyric Jain believes his success comes from his strategy, which is “trying to act as close to real-time as possible, either taking proactive measures or responding pre-virality so that we can prevent any harm from happening in the first place.”
Here is an example of previous narratives they have assessed:
What Taxpayer Dollars Buy
A statement of work obtained by a researcher in Washington through a public records request states, “Logically will review daily (Monday – Friday) publicly available online content across five (5) social media platforms for narratives and threats related to election officials or the election process in Washington. These platforms will include Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, Truth Social, and Rumble.”
The state is paying the company $147,600 to provide narrative alerts, threat alerts, bi-weekly narrative and threat trend reports, a final narrative and threat report trend report when the contract is over, and narrative and threat briefings through January 2025, right after the 2024 election. There is an option to extend it as well.
The contract makes it sound like they are looking for real threats while the website advertises monitoring misinformation and fake news. The kinds of things showing up on the report include twitter posts from the state party GOP Chairman, blog posts discussing election concerns within the state, videos circulating the various platforms that have anything to do with elections or could damage the image of the elections offices or election administration in any way.
It appears they are setting up a narrative that people with concerns for our elections are targeting election officials and causing threats to be made to their lives. They rate the level of threat they believe exists in each narrative or post they find. The bi-weekly reports consist of a list of narratives, a description of the narrative, and the impact they believe the narrative could have on the elections office or election officials.
Who Decides What Information is “Fake News” and What is Fact?
In our opinion, items listed on these reports are not real threats. Many of the things reported on their list are actual events that happened, and are fact, not misinformation. Who is determining what information is considered a threat and what is a fact? Are facts still a threat? Perhaps that is left up to the artificial intelligence side of the company.
It could be argued that the state is the one being misinformed by Logically, who is misrepresenting these statements as false information. Everything we have shared contains true events and is accurate to the best of our knowledge, and we have the receipts to prove it.
One twitter user was correct when they said “All things mentioned have likely been true before. Big Picture… whether info is correct or not it falls under 1st amendment rights.”
Our King County article was listed on a couple of reports. Why would it be on a threat report? Where is the threat? The county is the one that gave us the records, so they know we have the information to back up everything we said. See the first link, which leads to the recent King County article on our website, in the report below.
Here are some of the concerns listed in the “impact” column of the reports:
“This narrative could degrade confidence in Washington state’s elections among those who believe that state agencies send voter registration documents to non-citizens and do not verify citizenship during voter registration.”
“The narrative could also motivate individuals to call for stricter voter registration laws and more oversight of the voter registration process.”
“This narrative could also increase claims of voter fraud and motivate individuals to call on election officials to implement citizenship verification procedures for voter registration in Washington State.”
“This narrative could degrade confidence in Washington State’s elections among those who believe that the elections are rigged in favor of one political party. Additionally, it could increase claims of fraud regarding election results, particularly when recounts occur.”
“This narrative could also increase claims of voter fraud and motivate individuals to call on election officials to ban mail-in voting.”
“This narrative could degrade confidence in the State of Washington’s election officials among those who believe they violate citizens’ right to freely access information.”
“The narrative could also degrade confidence in the State of Washington’s elections among those who believe that the state restricts access to information to conceal election fraud, and it could motivate individuals to submit public records requests to investigate election data.”
Those are the kinds of “threats” they feel the need to monitor. Are these things really that bad? It’s difficult to understand why they feel threatened by some of these potential impacts that some of the reports outline. It could be argued that it would be a good thing if people were to call for more strict registration laws and we agree that public access to records should be reviewed.
It is important to point out that the threats identified in these reports are possible threats, not actual threats. “It could lead to…” Rather than, “it did lead to…”
L1 and L2 Threats
There are 2 levels of threats identified in the reports. Here is how Logically defines the difference:
Level 1 Threat – a piece of content that is likely criminal in nature and that any reasonable person would interpret as a real and serious communication of an intent to inflict harm. This content could describe, encourage, suggest, or condone a specific act of violence against a person or property.
Level 2 Threat – a piece of content that appears to suggest or encourage action or intimidation that could be carried out against the target victim. Often the user is suggesting that someone else should carry out the threat, the actions to be taken are not clear, there is no threat statement, there are not mentions of a weapon or target location, and/or the words used by the user are sufficiently
On the report for 9.1.2023 – 9.14.2023, they identified 4 threats, and categorized all 4 as an L1 threat. See a screenshot of the report summary below. It is unclear how these could be defined as “ciminal in nature or an intent to inflict harm.” None of them appear to encourage or condone violence in any form. Yet they are all identified as L1 threats.
Emails show state and county employees have developed a list of people and groups/organizations or websites that typically post things they disagree with, similar to a blacklist. Those accounts are monitored for their content regularly and are often included in the reports. In addition, single posts are also flagged, along with the user’s follower count, the number of likes and shares each post gets on the various platforms, and the level of engagement each post receives.
The people targeted by this company include the Republican Party State Chairman, the GOP EIC Chairman, Glen Morgan (from We the Governed; exposes corruption and bad decisions by state and county officials), several previous candidates, as well as regular citizens with legitimate concerns. It’s especially concerning that they appear to target one side of the political isle more than the other.
Money Well Spent?
Instead of spending this money on spying and censoring the citizens, by violating their right to free speech, we feel the money would be better spent in figuring out how to resolve the valid concerns the public understandably has. They should be listening to these concerns, not silencing them, and twisting their comments into “harmful content” and categorizing it as such.
Instead of concentrating on building trust through honest methods or discovering better ways to do things transparently, they decide to hire this company to spy on us so they can stay one step ahead and filter what information is available to the public.
The state should not even be permitted to spend funds on these illegal activities.
If the public wants to share the truth they have uncovered about our government’s operations, policies, or actions, the government cannot silence the facts or the author’s first amendment rights. They appear to pay special attention to “narratives” they feel could result in them looking bad or expose their mistakes.
The government does not get to dictate what they think the public should know or say. Yet they feel emboldened to do just that.
The Real Threat
It is important for you to understand that we are not saying this technology or this company itself are bad. We are saying it’s dangerous when these methods are used to target certain people or content and/or have plans to mitigate the narrative, especially when it is fact.
Of course, we expect this article to show up in an upcoming report or alert. Along with posts like this one, from another Washington resident. They will be considered dangerous to the integrity of the election and could cause the public to have doubt in the OSOS, or prompt the public to call for the censorship to end and demands that they actually follow the law. That would probably require an emergency threat alert to be sent out. “We got caught breaking the law, it’s a threat to our operations and/or employees!”
No… Censorship is the threat. The attempt at silencing the truth is the threat. The targeting of certain accounts or groups because you share differing political beliefs is the threat. The fact that it has gotten to this level and has been going on this long is the threat. The belief by government employees that they can decide what the public is allowed to know or what people are allowed to say is the threat.
Aside from taking the matter to court, the more immediate remedy is to spread the “narratives” even further by having more people share them. If it’s too big, they can’t silence it.
Special thanks to all those who are dedicated to sharing the facts despite the ongoing efforts to silence you. Thanks to the citizen researchers who continue the quest for answers and keep asking tough questions. The public and the law need to hold these people accountable for the violations they have committed, they continue to commit, and plan to commit in the future.