Two years ago, the Biden administration did the unthinkable. But they tried to keep it under wraps.
And now the White House is in big trouble after these corrupt documents leaked.
The Biden administration exerted heavy pressure on Facebook to remove “misinformation” about the Covid epidemic in early 2021, as evidenced by a series of internal emails revealed by the House Judiciary Committee.
On Thursday, committee chairman Jim Jordan made public emails that appear to show that Facebook and Instagram accepted White House requests for content control in some situations.
An internal Facebook communication from April 2021 quoted a statement by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg: “We are facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the Biden White House.”
Within the same month, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president for global affairs, reported to his colleagues that senior Biden adviser Andy Slavitt was “outraged – not too strong a word to describe his reaction – that we did not remove” a viral piece of content. The Ohio Republican claims the insulting material was a joke about prospective class-action lawsuit recruitment from vaccine recipients.
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 President Biden, was “outraged . . . that [Facebook] did not remove” a particular post. pic.twitter.com/5muflAQjcx
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 27, 2023
Clegg pushed back on the proposal, writing in an email to Slavitt, “that removing content like that would represent a significant incursion into traditional boundaries of free expression in the US.”
According to the top Facebook executive, however, Slavitt flatly rejected the argument: “he replied that the post directly comparing Covid vaccines to asbestos poisoning in a way which demonstrably inhibits confidence in Covid vaccines amongst those the Biden administration is try to reach.”
In response to Clegg’s email, Facebook VP of public policy Brian Rice called Slavitt’s request a “crossroads” and proposed it guide future content management decisions.
Rice responded to Clegg’s email by saying, “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.”
President Joe Biden blamed social media sites like Facebook in July 2021 for “killing people” with their failure to remove “misinformation” about the virus. At the time, Biden stated, “They’re killing people,” in a press conference.
Weeks following Biden’s comments, on August 2, 2021, Facebook’s leadership requested staff to “brainstorm some additional policy levers we can pull to be more aggressive against…misinformation.” This suggests that the public and private pressure was effective.
According to a “talking points” memo that Clegg disseminated to his colleagues, when the White House demanded that Facebook remove a Tucker Carlson video related to Covid, Facebook declined but offered an alternative solution of suppressing the clip’s reach by half for a week while the video was fact-checked.
Several major digital companies, including Meta, Amazon, and Apple, were summoned by Jordan in February for information relating to “the moderation, deletion, suppression, restriction, or reduced circulation of content.”
Jordan claimed on Twitter that Facebook had obstructed his committee’s investigation by not turning over any internal documents until the panel threatened to hold Zuckerberg in contempt. “These documents PROVE that government pressure was directly responsible for censorship on Facebook,” Jordan wrote.
As part of his investigation into the suppression of conservative voices on social media, writer Matt Taibbi (author of the “Twitter Files”) has been invited by Jordan to speak before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
A federal judge in Louisiana issued a preliminary injunction at the beginning of July that prevents the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services, among others, from communicating with social media.
Until the case is resolved, Judge Terry Doughty has written that he will probably side with the plaintiffs on the substance of their case.
Stay tuned to the Federalist Wire.