Maricopa County and Arizona state collaborate to surveil social media and censor “misinformation”
05/05/2024 // News Editors // Views

The Arizona Secretary of State’s Office and the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office have been exposed as doing their best to team up with social media companies, non-profits, as well as the US government to advance online censorship.

(Article by Didi Rankovic republished from

This, yet another case of “cooperation” (aka, collusion) between government and private entities to stifle speech disapproved of by federal and some state authorities has emerged from several public records, brought to the public’s attention by the Gavel Project.

The official purpose of several initiatives was to counter “misinformation” using monitoring and reporting whatever the two offices decided qualified; another was to censor content on social platforms, while plans also included restricting discourse to the point of banning users from county-run accounts.

“Online harassment” was another target, and Maricopa County took it upon itself to “identify” – and then report to law enforcement.

One striking example of the mindset behind all this is a draft of a speech County Recorder Stephen Richer delivered to Maricopa Community Colleges.

As reports note, Richer is hoping to be reelected this year, while back in September 2021, he complained that “lies and disinformation” are undermining “the entire election system.”

“And it is in this respect, that the Constitution today is in some ways a thorn in the side of my office. Specifically the First Amendment,” Richer said – before declaring himself “a huge fan of the Constitution.”

When his office was earlier in the month asked to, essentially, “make it make sense” – they didn’t, stating only that Richer “stands by his speech (…) especially the part where he says he’s ‘a huge fan of the Constitution’.”

And while there was no denying the fact that the official expressed these sentiments, more revelations from the documents – including the banning of users from official social media accounts – are now described by Maricopa County as drafts that were “never implemented.”

Even those willing to take the county’s word at face value might be surprised to learn what some of those “never implemented” plans included.

One was, opponents might say, to spread their own propaganda. Like so: “(Partnering) with influencers in our community and across the country who share our desire to spread accurate information about elections and combat disinformation.”

This document, titled, “Building a Partnership of Election Fact Ambassadors,” is believed to have been drafted around the 2022 midterm elections.

Earlier, now former Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, “worked with social media companies and censorship nonprofits to track election information online and combat it when they deemed necessary,” say reports citing the public records.

“We’ve heard feedback from elections authorities that they need better tools to track potential voter interference content on Facebook,” Facebook told her office in a September 2019 email, adding:

“In response to this feedback, we are building a dashboard that will track this content in each state – and we’d like to share those dashboards with the respective elections authorities. These Dashboards will allow for keyword searches of public content on Facebook in each state – and will be able to be customized to each state’s needs.”

Hobbs welcomed this development as “great news.”

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