As the Biden administration pressured Big Tech companies to censor Americans’ speech during the COVID vaccine rollout, Google’s YouTube went along with the White House’s requests before Facebook was pressured to follow suit, according to documents shared with House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan and obtained by The Daily Wire.
In an April 18, 2021, email, Facebook President for Global Affairs Nick Clegg expressed concern after Andy Slavitt, a senior White House advisor, told him that Facebook was “lagging behind” as YouTube “made significant advances to remove content leading to vaccine hesitancy.”
“Just got off hour long call with Andy Slavitt,” Clegg, the United Kingdom’s former deputy prime minister, wrote in the email. “There are some pretty serious — and sensitive … issues we need to address. A summary: He was appreciative of the data we sent thru on Friday, and confirmed that Rob F had said that they had never received so much so much data from us before.”
Clegg, who appears to referring to Rob Flaherty, Biden’s censorship czar, said it was the White House’s view that Facebook was lagging behind the other tech companies.
“Andy attended a meeting of misinfo researchers (didn’t provide names) organized by Rob F on Friday in which the consensus was that FB is a ‘disinformation factory,’ and that YT has made significant advances to remove content leading to vaccine hesitancy whilst we have lagged behind,” Clegg continued.
Earlier this year, Jordan began releasing the “Facebook Files,” showing that the Biden administration pressured the social media giant to stifle speech the White House didn’t like, including limiting outlets such as The Daily Wire’s reach on the platform and boosting the reach of legacy media outlets.
Flaherty in emails released by Jordan earlier this year, suggested that Facebook to “change the algorithm so that people were more likely to see [New York Times], [Wall Street Journal], any authoritative news source over The Daily Wire.”
The latest batch of emails exhibits how closely the White House was working with Big Tech companies, and how concerned the companies were with satisfying demands from administration officials. The Biden administration set specific goals for Facebook to reach in its censorship of anti-vaccine content “in the coming weeks,” such as reaching the “‘hardest to reach’ people who have a propensity to consume vaccine hesitant related content and who are not swayed by official/authoritative sources of content,” according to the emails obtained by The Daily Wire.
“Our systems, he believes — as confirmed by the researchers — feed vaccine hesitant related content to pockets of the population and that’s the problem he wants our help to resolve,” the email continues.
Clegg adds that Slavitt became enraged that Facebook didn’t remove a post critical of the COVID vaccine that was the “third most highly ranked post in the data set” provided to him by Facebook.
Clegg said he told the White House advisor that removing such posts would put Facebook in a tough spot because of First Amendment protections of speech. Slavitt shot down Clegg’s concern, saying the post “demonstrably inhibits confidence in COVID vaccines amongst those the Biden administration is trying to reach,” according to the email.
Slavitt went on to say that YouTube would never allow such content, the emails show.
Around ten days later, Google appears to confirm it was following the Biden administration’s requests closely.
In an email from April 29, 2021, the Google/YouTube government affairs team said that over the past few weeks, it “had conversations with the White House staff on YouTube’s policies and all the great work that is being done to raise authoritative information and fight harmful misinformation related to COVID-19 misinformation.”
“The discussions have been good and the information has been well received,” the email added.
Following the release of the “Twitter Files” and the Judiciary Committee’s findings on Facebook, the American public has seen first-hand how the Biden administration colluded with Big Tech companies to censor speech and silence voices it didn’t approve of.
The “Facebook Files” were modeled after the “Twitter Files,” a series of reports from investigative journalists, who were given access to internal communications at Twitter after Elon Musk took over. The “Twitter Files” revealed how the tech giant communicated directly with the Biden administration and the FBI, discussing tweets and even accounts of people who expressed concern about the COVID vaccine.