A Freedom of Information (FOI) request from Australian Sen. Alex Antic revealed this censorship from Canberra, coursed through the Australian Department of Home Affairs (DHA). The DHA is in charge of matters related to citizenship, terrorism and border security.
The response to Antic's FOI request stated that between Jan. 1, 2017 and Dec. 15, 2022, the DHA lodged 4,212 "COVID-19-related content referrals" to digital platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The referrals, which concurrently came at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2021, urged the platforms to review questionable content against their own terms of service.
Moreover, the department also lodged 9,423 "terrorist- and violent extremist-related referrals" over the aforementioned period. All in all, the DHA lodged 13,636 content referrals.
Further information was made unavailable or heavily redacted, according to the Epoch Times. It continued: "The revelations … highlight the extent to which government authorities attempted to control public discourse around issues like vaccine efficacy, lockdowns and mask mandates."
The South Australian senator blasted the government for working with overseas social media companies to suppress citizens' views.
"The system used by [DHA] was created for the purposes of seeking removal of terrorist-related material," Antic told the Epoch Times in an email. "However, the 'mission creep' into matters of public health proves that we need to be vigilant at all times with the power given to bureaucracies."
"It is also concerning that this seems to be a pattern being adopted in many parts of the Western world, as we saw from the Twitter Files scandal in the U.S.," he added. The federal senator with the Liberal Party ultimately called for a royal commission investigation into how all levels of the government handled the COVID-19 pandemic. (Related: Senator Ted Cruz asks Big Tech to hand over communications with government regarding "misinformation" censorship.)
Writing for Racket News, Australian journalist Andrew Lowenthal also discovered that Twitter had worked closely with the same government agency on censoring dissenting information online.
The Australian reporter collaborated with his American counterpart, Matt Taibbi of the Twitter Files fame, into scrutinizing the DHA's links with the social media site. The search into the Twitter Files yielded 18 emails from the Australian department requesting the removal of 222 tweets.
One email was signed by a senior analyst at the DHA's Social Cohesion Division working on extremism insights and communication – but purportedly misspelled with word "extremism." Lowenthal lamented how "a group that can't spell check" has reportedly become a "'fact-checking' authority for an entire nation."
One post flagged for removal featured Victoria Premier Dan Andrews with a mask on, but with the words "this mask is as useless as me" on the face covering. The said post allegedly contradicted "official information," leading the Australian journalist to quip: "Even a humorous commentary on masks was deemed too much for the fun police."
In another instance of the DHA being unable to take a joke, Lowenthal cited a tweet complaining about the long lines for swabbing as part of PCR tests. He explained: "The DHA apparently believed that a [user] thought that the swab used for PCR testing really was 'shoved up to [their] brain.'" According to him, a content referral asking for this post to be taken down was rejected.
"From our review, little to none of the content that was flagged came from 'extremists,'" Lowenthal concluded. "Rather, it was and is from everyday Australians and foreigners who disagreed with government policy."
Watch former U.S. Department of State official Mike Benz exposing how the U.S. Department of Defense funded COVID-19 censorship even before the pandemic.
This video is from the Prevent Global Genocide channel on Brighteon.com.