President Joe Biden’s administration is enlisting left-leaning philanthropies that have supported efforts to suppress content online as part of an initiative to advance the administration’s priorities in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).
Ten largely liberal organizations, featuring George Soros’ Open Society Foundations and Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund, are allocating $200 million collectively to help promote the administration’s AI agenda, according to the White House fact sheet detailing the project. However, these same organizations have funded groups who have worked to censor and demonetize conservative content online.
We are joining other philanthropies in a new initiative that will mitigate artificial intelligence’s harms to rights and democracy, increase transparency and accountability in its development, and ensure AI benefits people worldwide. https://t.co/lVStod26fm
— Open Society Foundations (@OpenSociety) November 1, 2023
Vice President Kamala Harris announced the project at a “Global Summit on AI Safety” in the United Kingdom on Wednesday. Harris selected the aims of the initiative and the philanthropies “welcome [her] leadership,” according to the document outlining its aims.
The five aims Harris chose for the philanthropies to fund are AI safeguarding democracy, helping lawmakers establish “equitable policy,” “empower[ing] workers,” enhancing “transparency” and “accountability” and crafting global regulations. The initiative is designed in part to counter “disinformation” and shield “democracy” from AI threats, according to the document.
Several philanthropies involved in the initiative have funded groups that have variously sought to pressure advertisers to stop spending on Twitter, take down “misinformation” during the 2020 election and make sure AI is not “biased.”
Omidyar’s Omidyar Network has given more than $400,000 to a project called Accountable Tech as of September, according to its grants database. Accountable Tech spearheaded an effort to pressure advertisers to stop spending on Twitter in November 2022 after billionaire Elon Musk acquired the social media platform, according to the project’s website, citing “misinformation.”
Accountable Tech is a project of the North Fund, a left-wing dark money group. The project also released a report in August citing the Food and Drug Administration as a model for how federal agencies should regulate AI, asserting the technology may speed up “election manipulation” and worsen “bias and discrimination.”
Moreover, Omidyar’s Democracy Fund gave a $130,000 grant to Center for Internet Security to fund a “Misinformation Reporting Portal” to flag social media posts for removal during the 2020 election, according to tax records obtained by independent journalist Lee Fang.
Omidyar gave $250,000 to NeverTrump PAC in 2016, according to OpenSecrets.
Furthermore, Open Society Foundations and Omidyar’s Omidyar Group fund the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which is a British nongovernmental organization that presents itself as a research group and collaborates with several online platforms to censor content. However, the organization often characterizes typical conservative discourse and journalism as hate and/or disinformation.
Open Society Foundations and Omidyar’s Luminate also funded the Global Disinformation Index (GDI), which is a United Kingdom-based nonprofit that seeks to “disrupt the business model of disinformation” and worked to “blacklist” conservative news sites, according to its website. GDI has a “Disinformation Risk Assessment” that gives conservative news publications such as The New York Post high risk scores and liberal news outlets such as The New York Times low risk scores.
The White House, Omidyar Network, Democracy Fund and Open Society Foundations did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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