In new memos recently released by Facebook, the social media giant was pressured by the Biden White House into altering its algorithms so that mainstream news sources would be elevated over conservative sites.
As Just The News reports, the documents over to the House Judiciary Committee following a subpoena detail a series of meetings between Facebook executives and White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty in the spring of 2021. The demands from the White House focused on posts related to the Chinese coronavirus and the efficiency of the COVID vaccines.
In one meeting on April 14th, 2021, Flaherty asked Facebook if it was possible to artificially promote outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post, instead the Daily Wire and Fox News, particularly commentator Tomi Lahren.
“If you were to change the algorithm so that people were more likely to see NYT, WSJ, any authoritative news source over Daily Wire, Tomi Lahren, polarizing people,” Flaherty asked. “You wouldn’t have a mechanism to check the material impact?”
“We have to explain to President, Ron [Klain], people, why there is misinfo on the internet, bigger problem than FB,” said Flaherty, according to the typed notes from Facebook executives. “Where issues are, what interventions are, how well they are working, for products, want to engage in things that you know to be effective. I don’t even care about specific methodology, you have better, richer data than we’ll ever have.”
Tomi Lahren, who boasted a large following on Facebook, had recently announced that she would refuse to get the COVID vaccine. Meanwhile, Daily Wire had filed a lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s mandate for private workplaces to force its employees to take the vaccine. The Supreme Court eventually struck down Biden’s workplace mandate, while upholding his vaccine mandate for facilities that are funded by Medicare and Medicaid.
“What are the things driving hesitancy on your platform? What is it? How big is the problem? When you are intervening, how are you measuring success?” Flaherty repeatedly grilled the Facebook executives in one meeting.
“Never-before-released internal documents subpoenaed by the Judiciary Committee PROVE that Facebook and Instagram censored posts and changed their content moderation policies because of unconstitutional pressure from the Biden White House,” said Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, on Twitter.
Constitutional scholars have also raised the alarm over the revelations, with George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley saying that he has “asked Congress to pass a law barring federal employees from engaging in censorship and targeting of citizens.”
“Agencies have a right to speak in their own voices,” Turley added. “Instead, the Biden Administration sought to engage in what I have called ‘censorship through surrogate.’ This is part of that pattern.”