GOP lawmaker aims to cut US taxpayer dollars from United Nations ‘censorship’ program


FIRST ON FOX: A new GOP-led bill aims to stop U.S. tax dollars from going toward a United Nations-run program that uses artificial intelligence to help weed out content deemed to be misinformation or hate speech. 

Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., is introducing the Cut The Censorship Act this week. AI has emerged as a top priority for lawmakers on Capitol Hill this year. Its advancements, as well as its pitfalls, have inspired a slew of legislation as Washington, D.C., races to get ahead of the rapidly emerging technology. 

“The United Nations Development Programme’s iVerify tool is something straight out of Orwell’s ‘1984,’ using AI to help label, suppress, and censor speech online at the expense of American tax dollars. That’s wrong and goes against the very principles enshrined in the First Amendment. We must prevent taxpayer dollars from playing any part in censorship on a global scale, and my bill will do just that,” Cline told Fox News Digital.

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Ben Cline, Virginia Republican

Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., is pushing Congress to cut off funding toward international programs he says encourage censorship.

The bill would stop U.S. funding to the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) iVerify initiative and “for any other effort that seeks to label speech or expression as mal-, mis-, or dis-information,” according to legislative text obtained by Fox News Digital. 

The iVerify program is currently being used in Kenya, Honduras, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia. It uses both public participation and machine learning to point out content deemed “harmful” to specific teams of fact-checkers. 

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UN at night, right, with flags of member countries on display at left

The bill specifically targets the United Nations Development Programme iVerify initiative. (Kena Betancur/Getty Images for Global Goals)

A post on UNDP’s website announcing iVerify’s use in Sierra Leone ahead of its elections this past June explained, “Leveraging the capabilities of artificial intelligence, potentially false or harmful content is flagged for verification by the team. Following a fact-check, the results are shared not only with those who requested the verification but also with all other Sierra Leoneans who visit the website and social media channels.”

UNDP made a video in 2021 announcing iVerify as a way to weed out “false news stories” and “toxic content.”

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woman with backpack, headphones voting on election day

The UNDP’s iVerify program is aimed at weeding out misinformation, particularly surrounding elections. (Nate Smallwood/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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“It’s election time, and I’m excited to vote. But how do I know I can trust the information I’m seeing online? That’s where iVerify comes in. I can ask iVerify if an article is true or not. When someone messages iVerify about a suspicious article, it goes to a whole team of highly trained local fact checkers to check to see if the article is reliable. iVerify also uses machine learning to check if an article has already been reviewed to avoid duplication,” the video said.

“It also monitors social media for toxic content, horrible messages…What’s more, iVerify can monitor everything posted on social media in a day for toxic content.”



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