(Ken Silva, Headline USA) A cross-platform effort funded by Stanford University, federal agencies and a slew of NGOs known at the “Virality Project” is the subject of the latest report from the Twitter Files—a trove of internal company records released by new owner Elon Musk.
The report from Matt Taibbi explained that the Virality Project urged tech firms to censor COVID-19 stories, including “true stories that could fuel [vaccine] hesitancy.”
1.TWITTER FILES #19
The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine
Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of “True Stories” pic.twitter.com/v41dyC26ZR
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) March 17, 2023
The report, among other things, revealed that the Virality Project apparently had a big part in the creation of the Disinformation Governance Board—a short-lived DHS agency that would have pushed censorship measures on the internet.
Taibbi reported that on April 26, 2022, the Virality Project issued a report calling for a “rumor-control mechanism to address nationally trending narratives,” and a “Misinformation and Disinformation Center of Excellence” to be housed within CISA at DHS.
“The next day, April 27, 2022, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced in a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing that a ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ had been created, to be headed by the singing censor, Nina Jankowicz,” Taibbi said.
Taibbi calling Jankowicz the “singing censor” is a reference to her TikToks, including one video where she’s seen parodying a Christmas song to make it sexually explicit, and in another she adapts the Mary Poppins “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” song into a tune about fake news and disinformation.
Jankowicz was also found to have astonishingly ignorant opinions on what constitutes disinformation—including her citation of Russiagate participant Christopher Steele as an authority on misinformation, and her false claims in late 2020 that reports about Hunter Biden’s laptop were part of a Russian disinformation plot.
Her antics were apparently so embarrassing that Mayorkas distanced himself from her during a Senate Homeland Security hearing last year.
“Let me repeat myself and add an additional fact: One, we do not discuss internal hiring processes; two, I was not aware of that fact [her statements about Steele]; three, as the secretary of DHS, I am responsible for the decision of the department; and four, it is my understanding that Ms. Jankowicz is a subject-matter expert in the field in which she will be working,” Mayorkas said last May, shortly before the disinformation governance board was canned.
Taibbi’s new information about the origins of the Disinformation Governance Board comes on the heels of House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, issuing a subpoena for Jankowicz to appear for a deposition.
“We have repeatedly sought information from you concerning your official actions and duties as a DHS employee and former Executive Director of the Board, including how the Board intended to define disinformation, how it planned to collect information and from what sources, how it anticipated countering disinformation, and how it proposed to protect First Amendment rights,” Jordan wrote to Jankowicz earlier this month.
“To date, however, you have declined to comply voluntarily with our request for a transcribed interview.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.