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Tipsheet

Yet Another Edition of Facebook Files Reveals How Deep Biden Admin. Went With Big Tech Censorship

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On Thursday, House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) released the third edition of the Facebook Files over Twitter, further proving how the social media giant colluded with the federal government, specifically the Biden administration, to engage in widespread censorship. 

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Along with a Fox News article, Jordan tweeted out this edition to do with "the lengths the Biden White House wanted to go to control true speech on Facebook." That's right, the Biden administration even wanted to censor posts that were true. This edition also speaks to specific people and outlets that the administration wanted censored.

As Jordan reminded, President Joe Biden himself claimed on July 16, 2021 that Facebook was "killing people" with regards to what Facebook was allowing. He clarified days later, on July 19, that he meant certain users were responsible. The damage was already done though, as was also addressed in a previous edition of the Facebook Files, in that it cased Facebook to have to reevaluate its content on COVID-19.

In this edition, Jordan makes mention of Rob Flaherty, the then director of digital strategy for Biden. An email from April 14, 2021 shows Flaherty claiming "We have to explain to President... why there is misinformation on the internet..."

An email from March 26, 2021 specifically called out the New York Post as an outlet that Flaherty wanted them to censor, asking if they were doing enough to reduce traffic from such cites. "I'm curious--NY Post churning out articles every day about people dying. What is supported to happen to that from Policy perspective," the email read. "Does that article get a reduction, labels?"

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Another email that same day showed they wanted people removed, reading in part that "intellectually my bias is to kick people off."

As Jordan highlighted, the censorship effort "only grew," with "upped pressure" involved. Another email from Flaherty, on April 14, 2021 referred to his "dream for FB to play ball."

The White House went further in that they wanted to be able to control what people saw through algorithms, prioritizing "authoritative news source[s]" over "polarizing people." 

"If you were to change the algorithm so that people were more likely to see NYT, WSJ, any authoritative news source over Daily Wire, Tomi Lahren, polarizing people," an email from April 14, 2021 read. "You wouldn't have a mechanism to check the material impact?"

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"Why did they do that? Because they didn’t think you were smart enough to decide for yourself," Jordan pointed out in the thread. This especially applied to people in certain parts of the country.

An April 5, 2021 email from Courtney Rowe, Biden's director of strategic communications and engagement for the COVID-19 team pointed read in part "Love that broken down by region and demographics," going on to ask "But equally important, how do we work with you all to push back on it. If someone in rural Arkansas sees something on FB, it's the truth."

Another email from April 14, 2021 from an employee read in part that "it's so important to look at mechanisms--if we can't remove it, at least we need to contain it."

An email from Flaherty on June 15, 2021 showed that they were still willing to do more, as he wrote that "we're keen on what platforms are doing to reduce the spread of bad information," going on to mention how "that platforms are not funneling people towards bad content." which he said was their "primary concern."

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Jordan's thread on to highlight how "of course, Facebook caved." A particularly damning email from a Facebook employee on July 16, 2021 admitted to censoring posts that were true, describing it as a sort of "middle ground."

"And we attack virality aspect through feed demotions. We remove content that can lead to imminent physical harm," the email began with. "For content that doesn't meet that threshold, we instituted borderline demotions. For example, someone sharing negative side effect posts. Similarly, posts questioning whether you should get a vaccine under a mandate, whether it's government overreach. We demote those. That's not false information, but it leads to a vaccine negative environment," the email read, indicating how Facebook was willing to censor posts even if they were true, and stifle conversation, to appease the Biden administration. 

"When it comes to looking at COVID misinformation, it's a different approach. What we normally do is just remove or leave to fact checkers. Here, we introduced a middle ground," the email continued, further demonstrating how Facebook even treats what they call "COVID misinformation," even if it's true, differently from other posts. 

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Jordan released the first and second edition of Facebook Files over Twitter last week. The files are the result of a subpoena for internal documents, which Meta finally agreed to comply with after facing threat of being held in contempt.

The thread concludes in part by emphasizing that the thread provides "[m]ore evidence of the censorship-industrial complex."



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