In January 2022, EFF filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State Department to learn more about whether the agency pressured platforms to shut down an academic presentation by Palestinian activist Leila Khaled.
Over the last few years, technology platforms have repeatedly censored online expression by Palestinians and their allies. In one example of this, technology companies have refused to host speech by Leila Khaled. Khaled is associated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group on the State Department’s list of designated terrorist organizations. Since 2020, Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, and Eventbrite have all censored academic events hosted by colleges and universities at which Khaled was invited to appear.
EFF filed a FOIA request for records from the State Department in 2021 to find out whether the federal government directed technology platforms to censor Khaled’s speech. We filed suit when the government failed to respond to our request.