Mark Zuckerberg admits Facebook censored Hunter Biden laptop story during 2020 U. S. elections

Mark Zuckerberg, speaking to podcast host Joe Rogan, admitted that Facebook actively suppressed a controversial expose on U. S. President Joe Biden’s son a week ahead of the 2020 elections

August 26, 2022 08:00 pm | Updated 08:52 pm IST

File picture of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

File picture of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg | Photo Credit: AP

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted that the social networking site censored a story about U. S. President Joe Biden’s son during the 2020 U. S. presidential elections. During an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience podcast for Spotify, Mr. Zuckerberg confessed that a New York Post story that published alleged leaked emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop was suppressed by Facebook as the following a directive from the FBI to contain election misinformation.

The exclusive story claimed that a laptop abandoned by Hunter Biden had details of him using his father’s influence — when Joe Biden was vice-president in the Barack Obama government — to seal a deal with a Ukrainian businessman. The story was met with scepticism by most mainstream media organisations as the evidence could not be verified by any other parties. It also came out just one week before the election that pit Joe Biden against incumbent Donald Trump.

Facebook’s engineers downgraded the report on the site’s “ranking and newsfeed” features, so “fewer people saw it than would have otherwise,” said Mr. Zuckerberg.

FBI warning

Mr. Zuckerberg also pointed out that the company decided to limit the story’s reach as the FBI reached out to Facebook around the time of the story’s publishing to warn that “there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election”. Facebook decided that the report “fit the pattern” of the warning

While Facebook limited the reach of the story, Twitter blocked users entirely from sharing it publicly or privately, which Mr. Zuckerberg said is where his website acted differently.

U. S. President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. File

U. S. President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. File | Photo Credit: AP

‘Different from Twitter’

“Our protocol is different from Twitter. Twitter said... you can’t share this at all. We didn’t do that. What we did was... if something is reported to us as potential misinformation, we also run third-party fact-checking programs because we don’t want to be deciding what’s true and false.

“I think it was five or seven days when it was basically being determined whether it was false, the distribution of Facebook was decreased, but people were still allowed to share it,” Mr. Zuckerberg told Joe Rogan.

The laptop also allegedly contained footage of Hunter Biden doing drugs and possessing pornographic tapes. The hard drive accessed by The New York Post was provided by Mr. Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

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