Meta (formerly Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently revealed how social media platform Facebook used an algorithm to downplay the Hunter Biden laptop incident story for a week after it initially broke in the year 2020. On Thursday, August 25, Zuckerberg acknowledged at The Joe Rogan Experience podcast that he took this action in response to an FBI request to limit election-related misinformation, ANI reported.
This came after Rogan questioned Zuckerberg on how Facebook handles contentious news stories and the problem of media censorship. To it, Zuckerberg replied that the platform did not totally suppress the article as Twitter did, but it was nevertheless moved down in users’ newsfeeds for up to a week until further information came that would clarify whether the report was accurate or not, Daily Mail reported.
Mark Zuckerberg talks about Facebook’s censoring of ‘Hunter Biden laptop’ incident
The Meta CEO said they took a different route than Twitter. Zuckerberg further clarified that the FBI came to Meta’s staff and warned by saying, “You should be on high alert.” The FBI cautioned the staff to be on the lookout for Russian propaganda ahead of the election in November 2020.
Zuckerberg said that the platform chose to limit the circulation of the news but did not outright forbid it. During the interview, he went on to explain by saying, “What Twitter did is…they said… you can’t share this at all. We didn’t do that. What we did was…if something is reported to us as potential misinformation…important misinformation, we also run third-party fact-checking programmes because we don’t want to be deciding what’s true and false,” Daily Mail reported.
The CEO also said that Facebook’s distribution was reduced for around five or seven days when it was essentially being decided whether it was true or not, although sharing was still permitted.
In addition to this, when Rogan questioned whether the story’s circulation was reduced, Mark said in response that the ‘ranking’, as well as newsfeed, was a little bit less, so fewer individuals had seen the article than would have otherwise.
Zuckerberg even added that they have received a lot of complaints about it and further saying, “this is a hyper-political issue. So, depending on what side of the political spectrum you think we didn’t censor it enough or censored it way too much, we weren’t as black and white about it as Twitter.” He later asserted, “We kind of thought… if the FBI which I view as a legitimate institution in this country…come to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something, then I want to take that seriously.”
Meanwhile, over 50 former senior intelligence officials reportedly signed a statement that indicated that the laptop scenario “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” as reported by the New York Post. Later, Mark Zuckerberg regretted how Facebook had handled the situation.
Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, exchanged tens of thousands of emails with Ukrainian business contacts, according to a 2020 New York Post exposé. In the exposé, the New York Post alleged that the emails showed how Biden’s son took use of his political connections in his international business activities.