Meta has responded to a viral podcast clip of Mark Zuckerberg, talking to podcaster Joe Rogan about the story of Hunter Biden's now infamous laptop being suppressed by social media platforms.
In an interview on the Joe Rogan Experience released Thursday, the Facebook co-founder admitted that his platform, while not going as far as Twitter, still worked to decrease the story's reach at the request of the FBI.
"How do you guys handle things when they're a big news item that's controversial?" Rogan asked. "There was a lot of attention on Twitter during the election because of the Hunter Biden laptop story. So you guys censored that as well?"
"We took a different path than Twitter," Zuckerberg replied, explaining that the FBI urged Facebook to be "on high alert" due to their fear of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election.
According to the tech mogul, the FBI warned there would be "some kind of dump" of information that the platform should be vigilant of.
"Our protocol is different from Twitter's," Zuckerberg continued. "What Twitter did is they said 'You can't share this at all.' We didn't do that."
He went on to explain that at Facebook, during the five to seven days while the Hunter Biden laptop story was being reviewed by fact-checkers, they decreased distribution.
"You could still share it, you could still consume it," but, "the ranking in Newsfeed was a little bit less, so fewer people saw it than otherwise."
"By what percentage," Rogan asked.
"I don't know off the top of my head, but it's meaningful," Zuckerberg replied.
Zuckerberg justified his company's decision by saying that he was just following the orders of the FBI, which he still views as "a legitimate institution."
Rogan questioned whether the FBI had pinpointed the Hunter Biden laptop story in particular, to which Zuckerberg replied that he could not remember, but that it "fit the pattern."
Meta's communications team responded to the clip of the interaction on Twitter, which has amassed over 8.5 million views.
"None of this is new," Meta Newsroom wrote in response to Minds, the independent social media platform that posted the video. "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."
"Consistent with our policy, after 7 days, we lifted the demotion because it wasn’t rated false by independent fact-checkers," they continued.
It is true that Facebook was open about suppressing the story in 2020, with Meta policy communications director Andy Stone tweeting that they had reduced the visibility of the infamous New York Post story on Hunter Biden on the platform.
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