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Documents Reveal Facebook Described Its Struggle with Biden White House on COVID-19 Censorship as a “Knife Fight”

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Documents released by the House Judiciary Committee this week reveal that Facebook executives felt embroiled in a bitter conflict with the Biden administration regarding the latter’s call for more aggressive COVID-19 censorship. What the Facebook team compared to a “knife fight” was sparked by President Biden’s public chastising of the platform in July 2021, holding it responsible for “killing people” due to a perceived lack of action against COVID-19 “misinformation.”

We obtained a copy of the report for you here.

WhatsApp messages exposed by the inquiry disclose the inner discontent of Facebook executives following Biden’s critical comments.

Then-Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg expressed her dissatisfaction with Biden’s statement, according to the report, by stating “Ugh on Biden today.” The company’s global affairs president, Nick Clegg, was more explicit in his frustration, describing the White House’s recent conduct as “highly cynical and dishonest” and their interactions as a “knife fight.”

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta CEO, seemed to suggest that the administration was exerting undue influence on content control, asking if it was viable to discuss how the White House pressured them to censor the lab leak theory about the origins of the pandemic.

The narrative of censorship was further reinforced by former Biden Director of Digital Strategy Robert Flaherty’s recommendation to alter the platform’s algorithm to favor corporate news publications over conservative ones – a detail gleaned from documents the House Judiciary Committee scrutinized in August.

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