Published by Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan Friday, part two of the “Facebook Files” details more White House collusion with Silicon Valley censors over coronavirus content — including requests to censor posts about Covid-19 vaccine side effects even if the posted information was true.
Files show the Biden administration pressured Facebook to take down posts critical of vaccines that the White House promoted.
“Part of that push included a public and SECRET campaign to get Facebook to more aggressively police vaccine-related content, including TRUE information,” Jordan wrote on Twitter.
In July 2021, President Joe Biden claimed that by not censoring more vaccine-hesitant posts, Facebook and other Big Tech platforms were “killing people.”
The Wall Street Journal was first to report on the second batch of “Facebook Files” here.
Internal records show employees at Facebook initially “bristled” at the president’s accusations, calling the administration’s definition of misinformation “completely unclear.”
“It also just seems like when the vaccination campaign isn’t going as hoped, it’s convenient for them to blame us,” wrote an employee whose name is redacted in the public files.
“This seems like a political battle that’s not fully grounded in facts,” wrote another unnamed person in the email thread, calling the issue “frustrating.”
But the White House pressure campaign convinced senior leadership to reevaluate Facebook’s Covid-19 censorship program, with high-level discussions that involved the company’s president of global affairs and then-Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
“Leadership asked … to brainstorm some additional policy levers we can pull to be more aggressive against Covid and vaccine misinformation,” one internal communiqué stated, noting that the change was due to “criticism of our approach from the US administration.”
Records indicate the administration even directed Facebook to censor “humorous or satirical content that suggests the vaccine isn’t safe.” The White House also wanted Facebook to suppress negative information about vaccine side effects, even if the content was true.
“The Surgeon General wants us to remove true information about side effects,” read internal company records.
Rep. Jordan, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, published part one of the “Facebook Files” on Thursday. Emails revealed the White House demanded the social media giant crack down on clips from former Fox News prime-time anchor Tucker Carlson, who was let go from the network in April.
The Biden administration was temporarily barred from colluding with tech giants to implement a censorship regime when a federal judge handed down a preliminary injunction in Missouri v. Biden on July 4. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, granted the administration’s request to temporarily stay the injunction — allowing censorship to continue while the case works its way through appeal.