Emails Show Facebook Chafed at Biden White House Pressure to Suppress COVID-19 Lab Leak Story

Facebook on a smartphone
by Misty Severi


The preliminary staff report is the result of a months-long investigation into the alleged coercion, where President Joe Biden’s White House reportedly pushed social media platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube, to censor books, videos, and posts.

Emails released Wednesday show Facebook officials chafed at the Biden White House pressure campaign to censor reports that the COVID-19 pandemic came from a lab leak in China.

Facebook’s President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg described the White House as “highly cynical and dishonest,” in an email dated July 2021, according to an 800-page report from the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. The report detailed alleged coercion between the Biden White House and Big Tech.

Committee Chairman Jim Jordan highlighted portions of the report, which allegedly showed Facebook officials commenting on the “intense pressure” they felt from the Biden administration. The company had censored reports that the virus was “man made” from February through May of 2021 when it started demoting the reports instead.

Internal emails from July of 2021 showed Clegg’s frustration with the Biden administration when he asked why the company removed reports that the virus was “man made.” Members of his team responded and admitted that they should not have caved to external pressure.

“Because we were under pressure from the administration and others to do more and it was part of the ‘more’ package,” a team member said. “We shouldn’t have done it.”

Jordan claimed the documents showed a “chilling effect” that the government had on social media platforms amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Facebook knew the White House wanted them to censor, but they didn’t exactly know what or how much,” Jordan said in a thread on X. “The First Amendment is first for a reason. Without it, we cannot enjoy our other liberties.”

The emails were part of a preliminary staff report that came out of a months-long investigation into a larger campaign to pressure social media platforms such as Facebook, Amazon, and YouTube, to censor books, videos, and posts.

“The First Amendment prohibits the government from ‘abridging the freedom of speech.’ Thus, ‘any law or government policy that reduces that freedom on the [social media] platforms . . . violates the First Amendment,'” the committee said in a press release. “By suppressing free speech and intentionally distorting public debate in the modern town square, ideas and policies were no longer fairly tested and debated on their merits.”

The report concluded that the White House censorship targeted “true information, satire, and other content that did not violate the platforms’ policies,” and that the White House had leverage because the companies had other policy concerns they needed addressed by the Biden administration that was unrelated to the censorship.

White House officials have denied the reports that they tried to pressure social media platforms to censor material on their sites, claiming the sites had the power to say no without any repercussions.

“We had no intention in coercing any social media companies into taking any action,” Andy Slavitt, the administration’s former head of Covid-19 response, told Jordan in a hearing Wednesday. “We never received any indication that our dialogue ever was interpreted that way. I want to be clear that they made their own decisions.”

– – –

Misty Severi is a reporter for Just the News.
Photo “Facebook” by Anton.



Reprinted with permission from Just the News.

Related posts