Biden White House Ordered Facebook to Censor Vaccine Memes and Tucker Carlson Posts

On Thursday, newly-released files show that the Biden Administration actively pressured the social media giant Facebook to censor meme posts that made fun of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as posts by then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

As reported by the New York Post, the files released by the House Judiciary Committee show that Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to Joe Biden, sent an email in April of 2021 to Facebook’s president for global affairs Nick Clegg. Clegg then sent an email to colleagues saying that Slavitt “was outraged — not too strong a word to describe his reaction — that [Facebook] did not remove this post.”

The post in question featured a popular meme template using a freeze-frame of Leonardo DiCaprio in the film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” where he is sitting in his chair with a beer and cigarette in hand and pointing at his TV. The caption for the meme read: “10 years from now you will be watching TV and hear…. ‘Did you or a loved one take the covid vaccine? You may be entitled…’”

Clegg expressed his opposition to the orders to remove the meme, since it “would represent a significant incursion into traditional boundaries of free expression in the US.” But Slavitt was unconvinced and, pointing out that it had been shared over 385,000, demanded that it be taken down. Slavitt claimed that the meme “was directly comparing Covid vaccines to asbestos poisoning in a way which demonstrably inhibits confidence in Covid vaccines amongst those the Biden Administration is trying to reach.”

Despite the initial pushback on the White House’s request, Facebook ultimately relented and shadow-banned Carlson’s post, reducing its overall reach by at least 50 percent.

Also in April of 2021, an unnamed Facebook employee emailed CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg, saying that “we are facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the [Biden] White House” to take down any posts that criticized the Chinese Coronavirus vaccines. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said that these communications reflected a rising sense of panic among the leadership at Facebook, which was desperate to appease the White House.

“To appease the Biden White House, talking points were drafted for Clegg,” Jordan wrote in his report. “Facebook was ready to tell the White House that it had demoted a video posted by Tucker Carlson by 50% in response to the White House’s demands, even though the post didn’t violate any policies.” The exact post by Carlson was not specified in the files that Jordan posted to Twitter, in a thread he labeled as “The Facebook Files.”

Social media censorship and collusion with the federal government has come under greater investigation since the GOP took the majority in the House of Representatives last year. Facebook in particular has come under scrutiny following the massive shift in the social media landscape as a result of Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter last year, at which point Musk declared that Twitter would become pro-free speech once again. Zuckerberg, still dedicated to left-wing ideas and regularly carrying out censorship on his platforms, tried to create a Twitter alternative called “Threads;” despite a strong launch day, the platform’s activity and userbase has since cratered due to censorship and usability issues.


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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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