On Thursday, Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg was “served notice” that his company is under investigation for suspected interference in the 2020 election, based on revelations that the FBI had approached the company with the aim to suppress news stories that the intelligence community considered to be ‘Russian disinformation.’ This included the Hunter Biden laptop story, which bore directly on the campaign fortunes of the 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“House Republicans are demanding that Meta Platforms Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg hand over FBI warnings and communications that led Facebook to suppress news about President Joe Biden’s son weeks before the 2020 election,” Bloomberg reported on the letter issued Thursday morning.
“More than 30 Republicans told Zuckerberg in a letter Thursday that it ‘is highly troubling’ that the technology giant limited distribution of a 2020 New York Post article about Hunter Biden’,” the report noted.
The Congressional letter, shared by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Twitter, informs Mark Zuckerberg that he must provide relevant communications as evidence in the investigation and must take steps to ensure it is not altered or destroyed.
“Shortly before the 2020 presidential election, Facebook suppressed an explosive New York Post article detailing how Hunter Biden used the position and influence of his father, now President Biden, for personal gain, with the apparent awareness of President Biden,” the letter states. “We wrote to Facebook at the time with important questions about Facebook’s knowing suppression of First Amendment-protected activity. In March 2022, after other outlets finally acknowledged the veracity of the Biden family’s influence-peddling scheme, we wrote again with additional questions about Facebook ‘s actions to suppress critical election-related information. Facebook has never provided complete responses to these letters and, in the month since, has avoided any real accountability for its actions in interfering with election-related public discourse.”
“Recently, you described how Facebook’s censorship of the allegations about the Biden family before the 2020 election followed a message from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Facebook ‘should be on high alert’ for ‘Russian propaganda’,” the letter continues. “You acknowledged that this official alert from the FBI is what led to Facebook reducing the circulation of the Post’s reporting on its platform, preventing Americans from fully understanding highly relevant allegations about President Biden ‘s awareness of and involvement in his family’s influence peddling scheme. Accordingly, we write to request additional infonnation about Facebook’s action to interfere in free and fair election-related public discourse.”
“We have seen in recent months how some in government have sought to use Big Tech to censor divergent viewpoints and silence opposing political speech,” the letter adds. “Government-driven and Big Tech-implemented censorship suppresses freedom of speech and free thought online in ways that harm public discourse. Facebook’ s suppression of the Post article—and allegations of Biden family corruption highly relevant to the 2020 presidential election-following guidance from the FBI is highly troubling.”
“For these reasons, we request—in addition to responses to all outstanding requests from our October 14, 2020, and March 31, 2022, letters—that you produce the following documents and information”:
- All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, between or among any employee or contractor of Facebook and any individual affiliated with the FBI referring or relating to the New York Post’s reporting about the Biden family.
- All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, between or among any employee or contractor ofFacebook and any individual affiliated with the Biden for President campaign or the Democratic National Committee referring or relating to the New York Posl’s reporting about the Biden family.
- All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, between or among any employee or contractor of Facebook and any individual affiliated with the FBI referring or relating to purported election misinformation in the 2020 presidential election.
- All documents and communications between October 1, 2020, and the present, referring or relating to Facebook’s plans to implement, or its actions based on, the FBI’s message to be “on high alert” for election misinformation.
“Please produce all documents and information requested above as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 15, 2022,” the letter adds. “Furthermore, this letter serves as a formal request to preserve all existing and future records and materials relating to the topics addressed in this letter. You should construe this preservation notice as an instruction to take all reasonable steps to prevent the destruction or alteration, whether intentionally or negligently, of all documents, communications, and other information, including electronic information and metadata, that are or may be responsive to this congressional inquiry. This instruction includes all electronic messages sent using your official and personal accounts or devices, including records created using text messages, phone-based message applications, or encryption software.”
It appears that Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been served notice about the multiple ways he interfered in the 2020 election. But if an addendum in the footnotes citing a Wall Street Journal article entitled, Twitter Becomes a Tool of Government Censorship is any indication, Congress’s battle against Big Tech’s manipulation of America’s elections is only getting started.
In Zuckerberg’s interview with Joe Rogan, recall that he acknowledged that Facebook limited the distribution of the Hunter Biden laptop story, but he pointed out that Twitter went further than his company and prevented users from sharing the story and briefly suspending The New York Post’s account. Twitter might want to start preserving its own records, if it is confirmed that it was also directly contacted by the FBI to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story.
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