Faced with contempt of Congress charges, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg turned over internal communications to the House Judiciary Committee which show how Team Biden pressured the social media platform to censor and suppress information that did not fit the administration’s narrative.
Such indirect censorship policies have damaged independent news media platforms such as WorldTribune.com and the Free Press International News Service.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan posted the material in a social media thread on Thursday.
Included in the material turned over to the committee:
In April 2021, a Facebook employee circulated an email for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, writing: “We are facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the [Biden] White House” to remove posts.
In another April 2021 email, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president for global affairs, informed his team at Facebook that Andy Slavitt, a Senior Advisor to Joe Biden, was “outraged . . . that [Facebook] did not remove” a particular post.
When Clegg “countered that removing content like that would represent a significant incursion into traditional boundaries of free expression in the U.S.,” Slavitt disregarded the warning and the First Amendment.
But Facebook’s First Amendment support did not last long. In another April 2021 email, Brian Rice, Facebook’s VP of public policy, raised the concern that Slavitt’s challenge felt “very much like a crossroads for us with the [Biden] White House in these early days.”
Facebook indicated it wanted to repair its relationship with the White House to avoid adverse action: “Given what is at stake here, it would also be a good idea if we could regroup and take stock of where we are in our relations with the [White House], and our internal methods too.”
Jordan also revealed that the Biden White House demanded to know why Facebook had not censored a clip from Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. In response, Facebook was “ready to tell the White House that it had demoted a video posted by Tucker Carlson by 50% in response to the White House’s demands, even though the post didn’t violate any policies.”
Jordan noted that the U.S. Surgeon General intervened to ask why Facebook had not censored the so-called “disinformation dozen” — a group of accounts questioning Team Biden's official Covid policy.
WorldTribune.com has been in the Facebook “fact check” doghouse many times. But a suspension imposed on Nov. 5, 2022 was different in several ways, including the timing, just days before the 2022 midterm elections.
The suspension blocked all posting and sharing of new articles on WorldTribune’s Facebook page and warned: “Your page is a risk of being unpublished and has reduced distribution and other restrictions.”
The Oct. 21, 2022 article which Facebook’s “fact checkers” flagged was titled: “CDC vaccine schedule vote defied public comments, physicians’ warnings”.
It detailed how the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to recommend the Covid-19 jab be added to the 2023 childhood and adult vaccination schedules despite a slew of negative comments from Americans.
After WorldTribune.com editors protested the suspension, Facebook ended it, saying: “World Tribune’s post from World Tribune is now back on Facebook. We’re sorry we got it wrong.”
Protesting Big Tech’s targeting of independent media, WorldTribune.com publisher Robert Morton charged Facebook with “a stealthy ‘confiscation'” of such media’s “audience and market share in a long-term campaign conducted without notifying either its readers or publishers and in effect a breach of the First Amendment.”
Jordan also noted Facebook’s hesitance to turn over the material: “Only after the Committee announced its intention to hold Mark Zuckerberg in contempt did Facebook produce ANY internal documents to the Committee, including these documents, which PROVE that government pressure was directly responsible for censorship on Facebook.”
THE FACEBOOK FILES, PART 1: SMOKING-GUN DOCS PROVE FACEBOOK CENSORED AMERICANS BECAUSE OF BIDEN WHITE HOUSE PRESSURE🧵 Thread: — Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 27, 2023