Technology

House Republicans target Meta’s FBI contact over Hunter Biden

House Republicans on Thursday asked Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to hand over communications between Facebook and the FBI related to the platform’s reduced distribution of a New York Post story on Hunter Biden.

Zuckerberg previously told podcaster Joe Rogan last week that the social media platform limited the New York Post story’s appearance on news feeds ahead of the 2020 presidential election while it was being fact checked.

The limitation, Zuckerberg said, came in response to warnings from the FBI about disinformation and potentially polarizing content.

“We have seen in recent months how some in government have sought to use Big Tech to censor divergent viewpoints and silence opposing political speech,” the 35 Republican lawmakers wrote to Zuckerberg in a letter.

“Facebook’s suppression of the Post article—and allegations of Biden family corruption highly relevant to the 2020 presidential election—following guidance from the FBI is highly troubling,” the House Republicans wrote. 

Shortly before the 2020 election, the Post published a story that the FBI had obtained a laptop that allegedly belonged to President Biden’s son as part of a federal investigation.

The House Republicans argued that the reduced distribution of the Post article from Facebook prevented “Americans from fully understanding highly relevant allegations about President Biden’s awareness of and involvement in his family’s influence-peddling scheme.”

Among the signatures on the new letter are the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee and the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. James Comer (Ky.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) respectively. 

The lawmakers have requested all communications between Facebook and the FBI about the Post article, purported election misinformation and Facebook’s plans to act on the FBI’s warnings, as well as any communications between Facebook and Biden’s presidential campaign about the Post reporting.

Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) addressed a similar letter to Zuckerberg on Monday, citing the Meta CEO’s comments on Rogan’s podcast.

The senators argued that news and social media outlets “inappropriately rushed to censor and discredit the initial reporting and falsely labeled it as ‘disinformation.’”

The senators requested related records and contended that “the American people deserve to know whether the FBI used Facebook as part of their alleged plan to discredit information about Hunter Biden.”

Following Zuckerberg’s comments on the podcast, the FBI has stated that the agency “routinely notifies” companies about potential threats in the wake of Russia’s meddling on social media platforms ahead of the 2016 election.

“None of this is new. Mark testified before the Senate nearly two years ago that in the lead up to the 2020 election, the FBI warned about the threat of foreign hack and leak operations,” Meta posted on Twitter last week after Zuckerberg’s podcast appearance.

Tags disinformation Facebook FBI Hunter Biden Hunter Biden Joe Rogan Mark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg Meta
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