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New White House Staffer Lauded Social Media Ban on Trump

 July 10, 2024

Andy Volosky, the newly appointed deputy director of platforms in the White House's Office of Digital Strategy, has a history of celebrating social media bans on political opponents and of advocating for stricter content moderation on such platforms.

Volosky's hiring comes amidst ongoing controversies and efforts by the Biden administration to shape social media narratives, and his prior support of a social media ban on Donald Trump has garnered unflattering attention, as Fox News reports.

Volosky's Social Media Stance Since 2021

The staffer, who officially started his new role on Monday, announced his position with a celebratory photo in front of the White House on social media, captioned "Started the new gig today." His previous stance on social media content regulations made news soon after.

Following the Jan. 6 Capitol unrest of 2021, he praised the decision by social media companies to ban President Trump. Volosky called this decision "a step towards limiting anyone’s ability to incite real-world violence," expressing a need for more extensive content moderation and user safety on these platforms.

In a blog post from 2021, Volosky voiced concerns about world leaders using Twitter for propaganda, emphasizing that the consequences of such activities go unnoticed by most of the world, but the effects remain real.

Emphasizing Professional Responsibility

As a professional in social media, Volosky argued that individuals in his field have a crucial role in maintaining the honesty of social platforms and improving their positive impact on people’s lives. He acknowledged that forthcoming regulations on platforms might seem daunting at first but stressed their importance.

"We know these platforms inside and out," Volosky noted, though he recognized that unknown regulations affecting daily work can be intimidating. Nonetheless, he stated, "We should be ready and eager to make [content moderation and user safety] happen."

Volosky's emphasis has long resonated with the Democratic viewpoint, particularly regarding the left's stance on regulation of digital platforms to ensure what they say is user safety and truthful content dissemination.

Connections to Progressive Agencies

Before joining the White House, Volosky worked for Middle Seat Consulting, a progressive digital agency with notable funding from Sen. John Fetterman's campaign and ties to groups like Justice Democrats and the progressive "Squad." The agency had also promoted activities for controversial activist Shaun King and received significant funding from Real Justice PAC.

The White House has defended Volosky amid these connections. A spokesperson emphasized the administration's pride in his efforts to inform Americans about President Biden’s measures to lower costs and deliver for the nation.

Robyn Patterson, a fellow White House staffer, reiterated that social media companies make independent decisions about the content they present. However, she asserted that these companies have a responsibility to consider their platforms' effects on the American populace and national security.

Past Social Media Coordination Efforts

Volosky's hiring echoes previous instances of platform narrative control by the Biden administration. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rob Flaherty, a key White House official, was involved in efforts to manage vaccine narratives on Facebook, encouraging the platform to closely monitor conversations expressing vaccine hesitancy.

Flaherty's suggestion included a request for agencies to access specialized targeting parameters to more effectively reach people during the global health crisis.

Volosky’s perspectives and professional history provide a lens into his likely approach toward his new responsibility in the White House's Office of Digital Strategy. He maintains a consistent stance in favor of content moderation and what he feels are the broader democratic objectives associated with those who work in his field.

As previously noted by prominent media outlets, the White House's social media accounts have been characterized as “feisty” by the Washington Post and “punchy” by BuzzFeed. This portrays the administration's approach to digital communication and narrative formation.

White House Digital Communications Moving Forward

With the continuing efforts to shape social media and maintain platform accountability, Volosky's appointment signals a persistent push towards what liberals believe is enhanced regulation and appropriate transparency. His experience with Middle Seat Consulting aligns him with progressive digital strategies and advocacy for content moderation.

The Biden administration's actions and personnel decisions underscore its broad strategy of influencing social media platforms to ensure accurate and safe communication among users.

Andy Volosky's arrival at the White House comes at a pivotal moment as the administration continues to navigate and shape the digital narrative landscape.

In conclusion, Volosky’s appointment reflects his -- and the administration's -- broader commitment to moderating social media content and regulating platforms to prevent what he contends is the spread of misinformation and incitement. His background indicates a strong alignment with progressive values, which was always bound to court controversy from some corners.