The third installment of the Facebook Files has been released, exposing the “lengths” to which President Joe Biden’s administration went to increase censorship on Facebook.
The Biden White House appears to have set itself up as a sort of Orwellian Ministry of Truth during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Newly subpoenaed internal notes of meetings between Facebook executives and Biden Admin officials reveal more about the lengths the Biden White House wanted to go to control true speech on Facebook,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) announced on X (formerly known as Twitter) August 3. The third installment of what Jordan calls the Facebook Files was published on Fox News, revealing the White House demanding access to Facebook tools to target users and complaining about not receiving enough data from the company. As Jordan noted, “In 2021, the White House wanted to control what narratives and true content was posted on Facebook surrounding #COVID19. President Biden went so far to say that Facebook was ‘killing people’ for allowing certain statements to be published on the site.”
During a conversation about Americans concerned over COVID-19 vaccine side effects, the White House suggested giving government agencies the ability to target users online, Fox wrote. “‘Since it’s a global pandemic, can we give agencies access to targeting parameters that they normally wouldn’t be able to,’” suggested Biden’s then-digital director Rob Flaherty.
One Facebook employee during an April phone call noted that his ideal would be the ability to redirect those concerned about vaccine side effects to information on the topic. Flaherty asserted his wish to Facebook, “Direct them to CDC.” A Facebook employee warned that could give a “Big Brother feel” but agreed “We should pay attention to those conversations, make sure that people see information, even if it’s not right then.”
During that same call, Fox noted, Courtney Rowe, Biden’s “head of strategic communications and public engagement for the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” seemingly mocked Americans’ ability to ascertain truth. “‘If someone in rural Arkansas sees something on FB, it’s the truth,’" Rowe sneered. "’What we need is help pushing back on the myths.’”
The Biden White House and Facebook calls grew “more hostile,” according to Fox. President Biden's White House Senior Advisor for the COVID-19 response Andy Slavitt railed at Facebook for not providing as much information as the Biden administration wanted. Flaherty also whined, “‘My dream for FB to play ball. It’s about will we get out of this f---ing mess.’”
Flaherty’s comments even implicated Biden himself. “‘I’m doubting that you are telling us everything… We have to explain to President… why there is misinformation on the internet,’” Fox quoted him. A Facebook employee objected to the suggestion that the platform take down “bad news,” but the company ultimately provided the White House with a large “dump of data” from Facebook’s data analyzing tool CrowdTangle.
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