As if so much information that tarnishes the FBI’s reputation wasn’t enough, we received another bomb as a gift from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about the American intelligence service during the elections of .
The FBI lied about alleged Russian interference as an excuse to pressure Facebook to censor the story about Hunter Biden’s son, Biden’s laptop, later released by New York Post.
In an appearance last Thursday (25) on the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience , by the controversial American comedian Joe Rogan, Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook deleted information about the laptop and its contents in the weeks before the presidential elections of 2020, after FBI agents asked to meet with his team to provide “terrible warnings” of an alleged dump of fake news Russian about the elections.
Although Zuckerberg said he couldn’t remember if FBI agents specifically mentioned Hunter Biden’s laptop story in the notice, he stated that it “fitted the pattern” the FBI referred to, so he deleted the contents.
Zuckerberg was strangely proud of having only limited content on Hunter’s laptop on Facebook (now Meta), instead of promoting a full censorship of the story, as Twitter did.
When pressed by the presenter, Zuckerberg did not say the extent of his company’s censorship of the laptop story, only saying that “fewer people saw it”. Given Facebook’s massive influence, that “fewer people” likely concerns many millions — and possibly enough to have given the election to Donald Trump over Joe Biden, had the story picked up steam.
Americans should listen to this podcast episode without forgetting the context in which Facebook took such drastic censorship action. In October 2020, the platform stated that the elimination of the Hunter Biden story was “part of the standard process to reduce misinformation”. Note that there was no mention of FBI involvement.
Either Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone was lying at the time, or FBI involvement was part of Facebook’s “standard process”. the entire time.
This same FBI had access to Biden’s abandoned laptop since 25, well before Zuckerberg and his team received warnings of Russian FBI “disinformation”. So Facebook and other sites moved to delete Hunter’s story, why didn’t the FBI come back to them and say that the Constitution protects freedom of the press and freedom of speech, and that agents never asked for the deletion of information?
Given how hyperpartisan and anti-Trump the FBI has become in recent years, it’s possible that the intelligence service actually had the damning contents of Hunter’s laptop in mind when agents approached Facebook with your request that the social media giant erase political speech?
Remember that 51 former intelligence officials from left, without any evidence, signed a public letter labeling the Hunter Biden laptop story as “classic Russian disinformation” just days before the first presidential debate.
Maybe it was the FBI that asked its spy friends to publish the letter, to cover the pressure campaign on companies like Facebook. Much like the FBI’s selective leak of the “Steele dossier”, a hoax about Trump and Russia. We’ve seen this movie before.
The American people, as has become customary, were kept in the dark. Why didn’t Facebook disclose its cooperation with the FBI in deleting the speech? Why didn’t the FBI release anything either?
Lawmakers at the federal and state levels must establish standards of transparency and conduct for internet platforms and agencies that govern political discourse that influences elections.
The recent complaint by network security expert and hacker Peiter “Mudge” Zatko against Twitter is also relevant. Zatko revealed the true extent of this platform’s failure to protect private data and responsibly moderate the content users view.
Facebook may have better internal controls than Twitter. But on the other hand, it perhaps has the same questionable issues that Twitter has fallen victim to: not only being subject to foreign influence, but allowing employees unrestricted access to edit users’ content.
Again, Americans don’t know this, because our laws have blinded people to understanding how irresponsible tech oligarchs rule platforms so important to everyday life.
There is a need for standardized operating procedures about how digital platforms judge their content decisions. And with these minimum standards must come absolute transparency, available in real time.
There is no way to go back and recover the 2020 elections. Voters in Ohio and Pennsylvania are not able to reshape their ballots or seek damages for the October 2012 Facebook manipulation of the truth 2020. The rule of law cannot preserve Americans’ trust in the institutions that are supposed to keep our civil society stable.
There is no resource for such critical and timely issues of political discourse in the digital age. Representatives of the people must establish and enforce rules that prevent Big Tech —a group of large technology companies that dominate the industry—from secretly taking the initiative to influence American elections to FBI command. Both Big Tech and Big Surveillance — literally, the big surveillance (i.e., the FBI) — need to be controlled.
The most powerful catchphrase of Zuckerberg’s interview came after Rogan asked if he regretted having “erased the truth”.
Zuckerberg replied, “It sucks. I think it’s like going through a criminal trial but being proven innocent in the end.” This false apology is completely meaningless. Yes, the truth came out, but only after the FBI and Big Tech election interference was done.
Mix the Zuckerberg revelation with the Russia hoax, Hillary’s emails Clinton and the FBI’s shocking attack on Trump’s private residence, and one gets the sense that our once-trusted private and public organizations are falling apart and in dire need of reform by law.
Will Thibeau is a policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation’s Tech Policy Center.