Zuckerberg says Facebook censored Hunter Biden story after FBI warning — Analysis
The Meta CEO said he decided to bury the news story after the agency warned him about potential ‘Russian propaganda’
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said his platform worked to limit the reach of an explosive story about President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, after federal law enforcement told him to be “vigilant”Information about misinformation from abroad
Zuckerberg spoke at length about the controversy during an appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast on Thursday, defending Facebook’s response to a New York Post report published ahead of the 2020 election which alleged a series of shady business dealings by Hunter Biden, citing documents obtained from one of his laptops.
Although the CEO stated that Facebook is a “great platform” for sharing content, “took a different path than Twitter” – which outright banned the story and even prevented users from sharing it in direct messages – he said his team ultimately decided to limit the spread of the article based on advice he had received from the FBI.
“The background here is the FBI basically came to us and was like ‘Hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert. We thought there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election; we have it on notice that basically there’s about to be some kind of dump that’s similar to that. So be vigilant,’”He said it, paraphrasing words from a federal agent.
We just kind of thought, if the FBI – which I still view as a legitimate institution in this country, it’s very professional law enforcement – if they come to us and tell us we need to be on guard about something, then I want to take that seriously.
However, when Rogan asked whether the FBI had specifically mentioned the New York Post story in question, Zuckerberg said he couldn’t recall, but added “it basically fit the pattern”The agency provides the details.
Also, he did not say when or if the conversations took place before or after the letter was sent by dozens of intelligence officers alleging the Hunter Biden tale had been fabricated. “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”Although they did not provide any evidence supporting the claim, ex-officials declared that they had. “deeply suspicious”About the shocking report.
While a number of media outlets were initially dismissive of the laptop story – with NPR even deeming it a waste of time and insisting it would not cover it – major publications have since reversed course and acknowledged that the documents were genuine.
Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook had attempted fact-checking the story within the first week of it being published. However, Facebook was unable to do so. “distribution” of the story through the platform’s news feed algorithm.
“The ranking in the newsfeed was a little bit less. So fewer people saw it than would have otherwise,” he said, adding that while he couldn’t say how many users were prevented from seeing the article, the number was “meaningful.”
Though Zuckerberg continues to defend Facebook’s less extreme response, Twitter’s then-CEO Jack Dorsey has apologized for how the platform reacted to the Hunter Biden story, calling it a “total mistake.” Regardless, both decisions stoked heated condemnation from Republicans and conservative critics of the Biden family, many of whom accuse social media giants of having a left-leaning bias.
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