Zuckerberg tells Joe Rogan Facebook was wrong to ban Hunter Biden laptop story, FBI provoked the ban

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg came clean on Thursday during “The Joe Rogan Experience,” explaining that the FBI approached Facebook prior to the 2020 election, warning them about Russian propaganda before the Hunter Biden laptop story dropped.

“Basically, the background here is the FBI, I think, basically came to us– some folks on our team and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert… We thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. We have it on notice that, basically, there’s about to be some kind of dump of that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant,'” Zuckerberg told Rogan.

The tech mogul admitted that Facebook was wrong to censor the piece from the New York Post, but still contended that the process of handling the explosive story was “pretty reasonable.”

Rogan grilled the young billionaire on how tech platforms handle censorship and moderation of the news.

(Video Credit: Joe Rogan Experience)

“When something like that turns out to be real, is there regret for not having it evenly distributed and for throttling the distribution of that story?” Rogan asked Zuckerberg concerning the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop bombshell.

“Yeah, it sucks,” Zuckerberg said. “It turned out after the fact, the fact-checkers looked into it, no one was able to say it was false … I think it sucks, though, in the same way that probably having to go through a criminal trial but being proven innocent in the end sucks.”

Zuckerberg waffled and justified Facebook’s censorship of the story, claiming that it limited the sharing of the exclusive but didn’t stop it entirely from being shared. The company did so after being approached by the FBI who warned them to be leery of Russian propaganda ahead of the election.

“Did [the FBI] specifically say you need to be on guard about that story?” Rogan bluntly asked him.

“No, I don’t remember if it was that specifically, but it basically fit the pattern,” Zuckerberg stated, providing limited cover for the federal agency.

“Our protocol is different than Twitter’s. What Twitter did is they said you can’t share this at all. We didn’t do that,” he claimed.

Rogan agreed with Zuckerberg’s defensive position concerning Facebook and asserted that the social media platform’s approach to the story was “certainly much more reasonable than Twitter’s stance.” He also noted that it was a difficult choice for social media platforms when it comes to politically sensitive stories ahead of an election despite the fact that what it really entailed was free speech and the silencing of political opponents.

“I just don’t think they looked at it hard enough. When the New York Post is talking about it, they’re pretty smart about what they release and what they don’t release,” Rogan commented.

“For the five or seven days when it was basically being determined whether it was false, the distribution on Facebook was decreased, but people were still allowed to share it,” Zuckerberg reiterated. “You could still share it, you could still consume it.”

“I think the process was pretty reasonable,” he contended. “A lot of people were still able to share it. We got a lot of complaints that that was the case.”

“This is a hyper-political issue, so depending on what side of the political spectrum, you either think we didn’t censor enough or censored it way too much, but we weren’t as black and white about it as Twitter,” he stated, once again putting all the blame on Facebook’s competitor.

Twitter suspended the New York Post’s account briefly in 2020 after the laptop story broke, revealing the existence of tens of thousands of emails that went back and forth between the president’s son and business associates. The emails purportedly showed that Hunter Biden leveraged his political access in his overseas business dealings.

“I think the right way is to establish principles for governance that try to be balanced and not having the decision-making too centralized,” Zuckerberg claimed. “It’s hard for people to accept that some team at Meta or that I personally am making these decisions.”

At one point Zuckerberg also whined that it was “hard to spend time on” the platform “without getting too upset.”

“This isn’t just insane, it’s election interference,” Republican Representative Andrew Clyde of Georgia angrily tweeted. He added that Zuckerberg should be required to testify under oath before the House Oversight Committee.

“Mark Zuckerberg flippantly admitting that Facebook censored the TRUE Hunter Biden laptop story (supposedly at the request of the FBI) should alarm every American regardless of their political party,” GOP Representative August Pfluger of Texas also tweeted. “The truth matters. Free speech matters. We deserve answers.”

Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri blasted the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Russia’s actions during Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, tweeting, “So the FBI preemptively warned Facebook off Hunter Biden laptop reporting. This same agency effectively laundered Russian disinfo in the 2016 election in the form of Steele dossier. And later lied to a court to get wiretaps.”

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