The platforms removed a number of posts, including memes, that went against the official narrative regarding public health measures and vaccines.
House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan obtained copies of internal documents purporting to show pressure being placed on the social media giants by the Biden administration.
In April 2021, for example, an email to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg was circulated by a Facebook employee in which the sender stated that they were "facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the [Biden] White House and the press, to remove more COVID-19 vaccine discouraging content."
They added that a "list of the top 100 vaccine-related posts" was recently shared with the administration, and that officials had asked them to delete a "vaccine discouraging humorous meme."
Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor to Biden, was reportedly "outraged" when Facebook refused to remove the meme, which suggested the Covid-19 vaccine would lead to harmful side effects down the road.
When Nick Clegg, Facebook's president for global affairs, informed Slavitt that removing the post would "represent a significant incursion into traditional boundaries of free expression in the US," the Biden official disregarded his claim, and appeared to have no qualms with overriding the First Amendment.
The Biden administration continued to pressure Facebook to remove posts, including a video from former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. In an attempt to appease the White House, Clegg was told to explain that they had demoted the clip by 50 percent for a period of seven days.
In August 2021, Facebook made it clear that it was seeking to change its content moderation policies to be "more aggressive against Covid and vaccine misinformation" in direct response to the Biden administration's requests.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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