Newly released internal emails from Facebook reveal the social media giant willingly removed posts pertaining to Covid at the request of the Biden White House. “We are facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the [Biden] White House” one stated.
Specifically, the April 2021 email sent by a Facebook employee on behalf of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg acknowledged, “We are facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the [Biden] White House.”
“Can someone quickly remind me why we were removing—rather than demoting/labeling—claims that Covid is man made,” Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president of global affairs, wrote in a July 2021 email to coworkers obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
“We were under pressure from the administration and others to do more,” the tech giant’s vice president of content policy responded, alluding to the White House. “We shouldn’t have done it.”
The emails were obtained by the House Judiciary Committee after the panel subpoenaed Facebook as part of its investigation into the federal government’s efforts to control free speech on social media.
This email exchanges occurred only months after Facebook ended its policy of censoring any posts raising the question as to whether or not the virus was the result of a Chinese lab leak.
THE FACEBOOK FILES, PART 1: SMOKING-GUN DOCS PROVE FACEBOOK CENSORED AMERICANS BECAUSE OF BIDEN WHITE HOUSE PRESSURE
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 27, 2023
National Review reports in depth on the circumstances surrounding Facebook and the White House:
That same month, Clegg informed his team at Facebook that senior Biden adviser Andy Slavitt was “outraged – not too strong a word to describe his reaction – that we did not remove” a popular post. According to the Ohio Republican, the offensive content was a humorous meme that suggested vaccine recipients would be solicited to join class-action lawsuits in the future.
Recounting his conversation with Slavitt, Clegg wrote in a subsequent email that he challenged the White House’s demand, pointing out “that removing content like that would represent a significant incursion into traditional boundaries of free expression in the US.”
Nevertheless, Slavitt rejected the argument altogether, according to the high-ranking Facebook official: “he replied that the post directly comparing Covid vaccines to asbestos poisoning in a way which demonstrably inhibits confidence in Covid vaccines amongst those the Biden administration is try to reach.”
Replying to Clegg’s email, Facebook’s vice president of public policy Brian Rice said that he saw Slavitt’s demand as a “crossroads” and suggested to colleagues that it should inform their content-moderation practices going forward.
“Given what is at stake here, it would also be a good idea if we could regroup and take stock of where we are in our relations with the [White House], and our internal methods too,” Rice wrote in a reply to Clegg’s email.
On some occasions, Facebook executives said they were concerned that cracking down on disfavored speech would only fuel distrust of vaccines and public-health authorities in general.
“There may be risk of pushing them further toward hesitancy by suppressing their speech and making them feel marginalized by large institutions,” said a draft memo to Facebook executives included in an April 2021 email obtained by the Journal.
By July 2021, President Biden was accusing platforms such as Facebook of “killing people” by refusing to censor “misinformation” related to the virus. “They’re killing people,” Biden said during a press conference at the time. “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people.”
The public and private pressure appears to have yielded results: weeks after Biden’s comments, on August 2, 2021, Facebook leadership asked employees to “brainstorm some additional policy levers we can pull to be more aggressive against…misinformation. This is stemming from the continued criticism of our approach from the [Biden] administration.”
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Electric Vehicle company with Chinese ties awarded $500 million of taxpayer money for 2nd U.S. plant
With a little help from their Democrat friends, a Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery company with ties to the Chinese Communist Party just announced the opening of its second plant in the United States.
Fox News reports Gotion Inc., whose parent company Gotion High-Tech is based in Hefei, China, unveiled plans to build a $2 billion lithium battery plant in Manteno, Illinois, alongside Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who cheered the project.
The announcement comes amid growing opposition to the company’s plans to build a billion-dollar factory in Mecosta County, Michigan.
In order to make the expansion happen, lobbyists for the Chinese Communist Party-tied electric vehicle company funneled cash to Democrats. “Individuals at a law firm registered as foreign agents to lobby on behalf of Gotion, a Chinese electric vehicle battery company developing a controversial project in Michigan, and wired campaign contributions to several top Democrats” reports Fox News.
“According to state and federal filings, Monique Field-Foster, an attorney at the Lansing office of the Warner Norcross + Judd law firm who is acting as a foreign agent on behalf of Gotion, donated to the campaigns of Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Whitmer’s sister Liz Gereghty and Michigan Democratic Senate hopeful Rep. Elissa Slotkin” the Fox News report continued.
“With the right incentives, nation-leading infrastructure, world-class workforce and booming clean energy production, we have transformed ourselves into an attractive location for global manufacturers. Today, we take another leap forward. It’s my pleasure to welcome Gotion to Illinois and to show the world yet again that Illinois is ready to be a player on the world stage.”
Pritzker delivered remarks late last week thanking Gotion for choosing Illinois to call “home” in a ceremony with leaders from Gotion High-Tech, including Li Zhen, the company’s chairman and president, who said he expected the factory to open in less than 12 months.
“All that we see here [in Illinois] are of enormous value to us: an enabling business environment, a supportive state government for the new energy industry and their highly efficient work, as well as the prospects of the State of Illinois in the coming years,” the Gotion president added. “We believe that Gotion’s battery technology will help to boost e-mobility in North America and the economic and trade exchanges between China and the U.S.”
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