The move was greeted with outrage. The disinformation websites led the charge, terrorising and ridiculing Jankowicz who – being educated, female and feminist – fell into their prime target category. Photographs and videos from her teenage to young adult life was splashed across the internet. A procession of white, male and middle-aged “anti-woke” commentators labelled the organisation a “ministry of truth”. The press joined in – from the Wall Street Journal and Fox News to the liberal Washington Post – claiming the mere existence of the board was a threat to the US’s First Amendment, which guarantees free speech.
The Grayzone editor-in-chief Max Blumenthal outlined the logic. Blumenthal accepts there are no actual attempts to censor disinformation. What he objects to is the state trying to force, or persuade, the major internet companies to alter their algorithms to deprioritise the hate speech, lies and threats generated by the online far right and the pro-Kremlin left.