Web Integrity Project Boosts Tracking of Government Web 'Censorship'

The Web Integrity Project (WIP) has launched Gov404, an online tool to track government censorship under the Trump Administration, or what it says have been the "unjustified removals of online resources and reductions in access to content across the federal government."

The Project points out that the Office of Management and Budget itself says: "Federal websites and digital services should always meet and maintain high standards of effectiveness and usability and provide quality information that is readily accessible to all.”

The tool is meant to hold government websites to that standard. 

While the tracker backers say "shortcomings" have existed since long before Trump took office, they picked the Nov. 8, 2016 Election Day as a starting point for the tracker to "[r]eveal how the government’s digital presence has evolved since the Trump administration transitioned in and enacted its policies."

They also allege that the examples they have aggregated are more than website maintenance, but represent efforts by the government to "hide content that it doesn’t want the public to see," or when it "sought to sow doubt about a policy issue or generated unnecessary confusion, or obscured information that itself had significant public value."

The Trump Administration has certainly made no secret of its disagreement with the prior Administration's positions on climate change of the evidence it used to back that up.

Among the alterations cited in the tracker are removal of climate change information from various agency websites, removal of Affordable Care Act information from HHS's Office of Minority Health website, and removal of LGBT (CQ) resources from the Department of Labor website.

The examples in the online tool come from the Web Integrity Project's own reporting, news media and civil society organizations.

The Web Integrity Project monitors changes in government websites and is a project of the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.