Science, Technology, and Social MediaWhite House Watch

Facebook Felt It Was Engaged In ‘Knife Fight’ With Biden White House Over COVID-19 Censorship, Docs Reveal

Facebook executives believed they were engaged in a “knife fight” with President Joe Biden’s White House on COVID-19 censorship, according to a House Judiciary Committee report published on Wednesday.

Biden accused Facebook of “killing people” in July 2021 for not censoring so-called COVID-19 misinformation. Unearthed WhatsApp messages reveal that Facebook executives were less than happy about Biden’s remarks, according to the report.

“Ugh on Biden today,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said.

“The behavior of the WH over the last 24 hours has been highly cynical and dishonest,” Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs said.

Clegg also characterized the company’s dealings with the White House as a “knife fight,” according to messages obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Can we include that the WH put pressure on us to censor the lab leak theory?” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg asked.

Former Biden Director of Digital Strategy Robert Flaherty suggested to Facebook that it “change the algorithm” to promote corporate news publications over conservative ones, according to documents reviewed by the DCNF in August.

Flaherty on Wednesday was incapable of reciting the “five tenets of the First Amendment” when Florida Republican Rep. Kat Cammack asked him at a hearing on government censorship.

Facebook doubted the accuracy of the Center For Countering Digital Hate’s (CCDH) March 2021 “Disinformation Dozen” report that Biden’s White House leveraged to encourage censorship on the platform, according to emails previously obtained by the House Judiciary Committee. The report purported to identify the “Twelve Leading Antivaxxers” who were allegedly the source of 65% of anti-vaccine content, with the White House pushing Facebook to censor these accounts, despite its worries about the accuracy.

Flaherty also sent an email in April 2021 to pressure a Facebook employee to censor Daily Caller News Foundation co-founder Tucker Carlson’s video about COVID-19 vaccines.

The White House, Facebook and Meta did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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