Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged Thursday that Facebook suppressed the Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election based on a general request from the FBI.
The founder and CEO of Facebook said on Thursday’s episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” that the call came shortly before the New York Post reported the computer that shed light on the shady foreign business dealings of the son of now-President Biden.
Mr. Zuckerberg characterized the FBI alert as follows: “Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert … 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 that’s similar to that. So just be vigilant.”
Within days of the since-vindicated blockbuster, a number of Democratic-leaning intelligence officials and analysts publicly declared that the laptop resembled a Russian disinformation dump.
Earlier this week, Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, told Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that, according to whistleblowers, FBI officials told agents not to investigate information found on the younger Mr. Biden’s laptop.
The social-media kingpin acknowledged to Mr. Rogan that Facebook then began using its algorithms to limit the story’s reach, putting it down lower in people’s NewsFeed though he defended the practice by noting that it took a “different path” from Twitter, which completely censored the Post’s reporting.
“Fewer people saw it than would’ve otherwise,” Mr. Zuckerberg told Mr. Rogan.
The podcast host quickly asked “by what percentage?”
“I don’t know off the top of my head, but it’s meaningful,” Mt. Zuckerberg responded.
Mr. Zuckerberg said Facebook chose to trust the FBI and take its word.
“The FBI, which I still view is a legitimate institution in this country, it’s a very professional law enforcement -— they come to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something — then I want to take that seriously,” he said.
When Mr. Rogan followed up by asking whether the FBI “specifically” said “to be on guard about that story,” Mr. Zuckerberg replied with a non-emphatic denial.
“No, I don’t remember if it was that specifically, but it basically fit the pattern,” he said.