Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook algorithmically suppressed stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop during the 2020 election at the request of the FBI weeks before the November contest.
Speaking on Joe Rogan’s podcast on Thursday, Zuckerberg said the FBI approached employees at the tech giant to warn that the laptop was a vehicle of Russian interference.
“The FBI basically came to us and spoke to some folks on our team and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert. We thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda on the 2016 election. We have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump similar to that,'” Zuckerberg said. The CEO did not say precisely when the discussion took place.
In mid-October, the New York Post published content from the abandoned laptop revealing that then-candidate Joe Biden had been lying when he repeatedly claimed that he never spoke business with his son, “or with anyone else.” Emails found on the hard drive also showed that the former vice president stood to personally profit from Hunter’s business dealings thanks to close affiliates with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Moments after the stories broke, Facebook promptly announced through a corporate spokesman, who was previously a Democratic operative, that the company would be “reducing its distribution on our platform” pending verification by third-party fact-checkers.
“I think it was 5 to 7 days when it was basically being determined whether it was false,” Zuckerberg said, without disclosing which third parties conducted the network’s so-called fact check. “Fewer people saw it than would have otherwise.”
“We just kind of thought if the FBI, which I still view as a legitimate institution in this country — it’s like very professional law enforcement — they come to us and tell us we need to be on guard about something, then I want to take that seriously,” Zuckerberg added, six years after the FBI orchestrated a failed hoax to indict President Donald Trump as a Russian agent.
At the same time, the FBI was actively working to suppress information surrounding Hunter Biden’s laptop internally as disinformation.
On Wednesday, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson published a whistleblower report from bureau officials who claim that agency leaders instructed agents to ignore the laptop’s contents.
“After the FBI obtained the Hunter Biden laptop from the Wilmington, DE computer shop, these whistleblowers stated that local FBI leadership told employees, ‘you will not look at that Hunter Biden laptop’ and that the FBI is ‘not going to change the outcome of the election again,'” Johnson wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Further, these whistleblowers allege that the FBI did not begin to examine the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop until after the 2020 presidential election — potentially a year after the FBI obtained the laptop in December 2019.”
Johnson’s report comes a month after another whistleblower report was published by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office with similar claims that agency officials provided cover for the Biden family.
The revelations of misconduct, combined with an unprecedented raid of a former president earlier this month, have tanked public confidence in the federal law enforcement agency. According to a Trafalgar poll out Wednesday that was shared exclusively with The Federalist, even a plurality of independents has lost trust in the Department of Justice and the FBI.