WASHINGTON, D.C. — White House officials asked Facebook to suppress news content from conservative media outlets and analysts, new public records reveal.
In February, the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed big tech giants Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple for the purpose of reviewing their content moderation practices. The subpoena recently yielded internal memos that were shared with the public on Thursday.
CENSORING “POLARIZING PEOPLE”
The memos reveal a series of meetings that occurred between White House digital director Rob Flaherty and Facebook executives in the spring of 2021, according to Just the News. The White House was hoping to suppress “polarizing people” while simultaneously amplifying legacy media outlets.
During an April meeting, Flaherty asked: “If you were to change the algorithm so that people were more likely to see [New York Times], [Wall Street Journal], any authoritative news source over Daily Wire, Tomi Lahren, polarizing people. You wouldn’t have a mechanism to check the material impact?”
Prior to that question, Flaherty questioned Facebook as to how it would deal with COVID vaccine hesitancy.
“What are the things driving hesitancy on your platform,” Flaherty asked. “What is it? How big is the problem? When you are intervening, how are you measuring success?”
A Facebook employee in the meeting responded: “In terms of interventions, know that there are groups that are hot spots – mandatory post approvals – admins have to approve posts.” The employee gave as an example a post by Lahren in which she declared she would not get the COVID vaccine.
TOMI LAHREN, BEN SHAPRIO RESPOND
The Daily Wire Founder Ben Shapiro and Tomi Lahren both responded to the memos’ revelations.
“The Biden White House’s pressure on Facebook to target Daily Wire for traffic reduction is an obvious, disgusting, and predictable First Amendment violation,” Shapiro told Just the News. “Government action is still government action even when the government is cudgeling private corporations to do the dirty work of censorship.”
Shapiro added that The Daily Wire is “not afraid” to sue the Biden administration and is “looking into all available remedies as we speak.”
“Free speech is on its last leg under Joe Biden,” Lahren told the outlet. “The fact that I’ve been living rent free in Biden’s head is flattering, but the fact his team would go to such great lengths to silence me for simply saying I won’t personally get the COVID vaccine is disturbing to say the least.”