A response to an Official Information Act (“OIA”) has uncovered that the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs has access to Facebook’s takedown portal. This is the same portal used by the US government to directly access and flag content on Facebook or Instagram and then request that it be throttled or suppressed.
Two years ago, Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai exposed deep collusion between the US government and social media companies, specifically Twitter but also YouTube and Google. During a second lawsuit in May 2021, Dr. Shiva discovered that the Twitter backdoor portal had originally been developed so the UK government could use it to censor UK citizens. He also discovered the Playbooks, also created in the UK, and the entire details of the technology architecture between the US government and Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to censor citizens anywhere in the world.
In a move that appeared to be a “limited hangout” operation, The Intercept reported more than a year later, in October 2022, that Facebook had a portal so US government officials could easily identify the content they deem objectionable.
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On the 2 November, Mark Wong submitted an OIA request:
Has the government, any division of the government, any member of the government, or any organisation acting on behalf of the government, ever had partner access to Facebook’s takedown portal previously found (since removed) at https://facebook.com/xtakedowns/login?
Eight days later, a representative from Ministerial Services responded:
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) does not hold information relating to your request. I also believe the information you have requested is more closely connected with the functions of the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA). I have decided to transfer your request in full to DIA.
Rather humorously, a response from Internal Affairs on 16 November confirming the transfer of the request to them refers to Facebook as “Fakebook”:
You request is regarding Fakebook’s takedown portal and whether the government, or any organisation acting on behalf of the government has had access to this portal.
On 1 December, a Director of Digital Safety at the Department of Internal Affairs responded to the OIA:
Yes, the Department of Internal Affairs has access to Facebook’s takedown portal. Please note, we cannot advise if any other government agency has access to the takedown portal.
Wong has not left matters there. He immediately requested:
Can you please forward the following request to all government departments/ministries, or advise on the best way to get this information on all departments:
To whom it may concern,
Please confirm if your department/ministry had/has access to Facebook’s takedown portal.
Please provide the guidelines for flagging/censoring/downranking content posted by New Zealanders, people residing in New Zealand, and media with content relating to New Zealand & New Zealanders.
Please provide the number of Facebook posts your department has accessed through the portal, or at least an indication of the scope of interference.
You can follow the progress of this OIA on FYI.org.nz HERE.
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