Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg, who owns the social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, made an appearance on the popular Joe Rogan podcast ‘Joe Rogan Experience.
During the interview, Joe Rogan asked “How do you handle a big news item that is controversial? Like there was a lot of attention on Twitter when the Hunter Biden story came out during the elections.”
To this, Zuckerberg replied, “We took a path different path than Twitter. During elections, the FBI basically came to us. As a team, they said we need to be on high alert because of a lot of Russian propaganda during the 2016 elections. (They told the Facebook team) that there is going to be a similar kind of dump (of political controversy), so just be vigilant. Our approach is different from Twitter. Twitter tells directly that you just can’t share that particular thing. Facebook works with third-party fact-checkers. There was a 5-7 day period when that particular story was being flagged as potential misinformation. So its distribution on Facebook was limited. We were not ‘black and white’ like Twitter. But we limited the reach of the story so that a fewer number of people were able to see it or share it. ”
BREAKING: Mark Zuckerberg tells Joe Rogan that Facebook algorithmically censored the Hunter Biden laptop story for 7 days based on a general request from the FBI to restrict election misinformation. pic.twitter.com/llTA7IqGa1— Minds💡 (@minds) August 25, 2022
Zuckerberg further stated that if the FBI tells them to be careful about something they take it seriously. And that (hunter Biden laptop) story was flagged by them, so Facebook did what was necessary. He even lamented that despite limiting the reach of the story, Facebook was still criticised by many for not limiting it enough.
When Joe Rogan asked if the FBI specifically asked them to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story, Zuckerberg admitted that they did not mention it specifically, but Facebook did it anyway.
Zuckerberg’s admission that social media giant Facebook actively tweaked its algorithm to favour one particular candidate in the 2020 US elections and prevented him from facing negative public opinion at a crucial juncture in the election process has triggered some major reactions on social media.
Nothing to see here, just a billionaire with a monopoly on information was censoring accurate news stories at the behest of the FBI to favor a political party & outcome. https://t.co/oeI23LKKrO— Jimmy Dore (@jimmy_dore) August 26, 2022
The FBI colluded with Big Tech to silence news stories weeks before the 2020 election in an attempt to control your access to information.— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) August 26, 2022
Democrats in Congress have been intentionally ignoring the facts. When Republicans are back in charge, we will hold all of them accountable. https://t.co/kUc8J9OAvq
While some people highlighted how Facebook actively tweeted its algorithm to favour one candidate in the US elections (Joe Biden), others pointed out the concern that Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter are now deciding which stories would be consumed by the masses and how they will promote or suppress them based on Big Tech’s own definition of their legitimacy and usefulness.
Whatever your politics, whatever your feelings about Trump or Biden, what we need to ask ourselves is whether we're comfortable with Mark Zuckerberg looking at the news and deciding how many points to adjust its amplification up or down, based on how "legitimate" he regards it. https://t.co/m5NcgWa26A— Leighton 明 Woodhouse (@lwoodhouse) August 26, 2022
The Hunter Biden emails story
It is notable here that in the last weeks of the 2020 US presidential elections, the New York Post had published an explosive story about Hunter Biden’s problematic emails with a Ukrainian gas company executive from Burisma. Twitter had censored the NY Post account and a number of major news outlets like the NY Times, Washington Post, CNN and others had gone overboard declaring it as fake news. After the elections were over and Joe Biden was declared president, it later became clear that the NY Post story was true. Twitter’s former head Jack Dorsey then expressed regret over censoring the story and blocking NY Post from their Twitter account.
The media favouring of Joe Biden was not limited to suppressing the NY Post story and declaring it as fake. The pool of journalists who followed Biden around during his campaign never asked him about it. When one journalist, CBS News’ Bo Ericson had managed to ask, he was pushed back angrily by his own colleagues and other journalists.