Facebook Files II: Biden Admin Pushes Facebook into COVID Censorship

July 29th, 2023 1:15 PM

The second part of The Facebook Files uncovered the Biden administration’s behind-the-scenes coordination with Facebook to censor COVID-19 content.

The House Judiciary Committee has obtained internal documents from Meta/Facebook, revealing that the Biden administration was a driving force pushing Facebook’s COVID-19 censorship. The second installment of The Facebook Files, published in the Wall Street Journal and promoted by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), revealed the shocking censorship requests from the Biden White House, including about the virus’s origins, and internal resistance among Facebook employees. 

The Journal viewed documents from July 2021, during the thick of the Biden White House’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign, which included censorship demands. Joe Biden himself pressured social media platforms to censor content critical of the vaccines when he accused tech platforms and spreaders of supposedly “false information” of “‘killing people.’” 

The president’s comment triggered a memo from a Facebook vice president comparing Biden administration demands to Facebook policies, according to the Journal. “There is likely a significant gap between what the WH would like us to remove and what we are comfortable removing,” the VP stated. For instance, the Biden administration even pushed for removal of humor or satire about the vaccines, the Journal wrote.

But the documents repeatedly show Facebook employees doubting the legitimacy of the censorship, the Journal noted. In one example, Nick Clegg, now Meta president of global affairs, talked about a request to censor satire about the vaccines. Apparently referring to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, he said: “I can’t see Mark in a million years being comfortable with removing that—and I wouldn’t recommend it.” Ironically, Clegg recently boasted that Meta is “getting better” at censoring election content.

In another instance, two months after Facebook changed its policy, Clegg asked colleagues in July 2021, “Can someone quickly remind me why we were removing—rather than demoting/labeling—claims that Covid is man made.” A Facebook VP reportedly responded, “We were under pressure from the administration and others to do more.” The VP added, “We shouldn’t have done it.” Executives also wondered if censorship would only increase “vaccine hesitancy.”

By August 2021, Facebook had changed its COVID policies, the Journal noted. For example, violations carried heavier penalties. Now-Democrat presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy Jr. was one victim of suppression under this policy change.

An MRC Free Speech America study in early 2022 found over 800 cases of Big Tech censoring the COVID debate, including on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, based on the unique CensorTrack database.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at (650) 308-7300 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “misinformation” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.