During an interview with Joe Rogan this Wednesday, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook throttled the reach of news stories focusing on Hunter Biden's laptop, but some conservatives are falsely claiming he revealed something more sinister, one of whom was Missouri GOP Sen. Josh Hawley.
"So the FBI preemptively warned Facebook off Hunter Biden laptop reporting," Hawley tweeted along with a Fox News article on the story. "This same agency effectively laundered Russian disinfo in the 2016 election in the form of Steele dossier. And later lied to a court to get wiretaps."
But Hawley's framing of Zuckerberg's words is misleading. In his interview with Rogan, the Facebook founder said that the FBI came to his platform before the 2020 election with a general warning about an upcoming Russian propaganda campaign. At no point during the interview did Zuckerberg say that the FBI specifically mentioned news reports about Hunter Biden's laptop.
\u201cSo the FBI preemptively warned Facebook off Hunter Biden laptop reporting. This same agency effectively laundered Russian disinfo in the 2016 election in the form of Steele dossier. And later lied to a court to get wiretaps \n\nhttps://t.co/wrD01hSbFe\u201d— Josh Hawley (@Josh Hawley) 1661474212
Emails that suggest Hunter Biden and his father were involved in shady dealings in Ukraine were published by the New York Post just before the November 2020 election.
But dozens of former senior intelligence officials signed a letter that claimed the story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” which resulted in the story being restricted on several social media platforms.
Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook throttled the reach of the New York Post article about Hunter Biden, but insisted that Facebook took a "different path" than Twitter, which completely censored the Post's reporting while Facebook just throttled its reach.
"Basically, the background here is the FBI, I think, basically came to us- some folks on our team and was like, 'Hey, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert… We thought that 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 of that's similar to that. So just be vigilant,'" Zuckerberg told Rogan.
Since then The Washington Post, The New York Times and others have also reported on some of the computer's contents, which included 129,000 emails.
The files continue to be used in efforts to politically damage the president, and are reportedly part of an ongoing FBI investigation of Hunter Biden's financial dealings.
With additional reporting via AFP