Meta's Global Affairs Chairman Nick Clegg recently claimed that the platform limited the visibility on Hunter Biden's laptop story. It all started around minute 3:05 during an interview broadcast on Fox News Channel's Special Report program.
At that point, the host, Bret Baier decided to ask the following question to his guest, "As far as stories, the Hunter Biden laptop story, the story of the COVID origins, did Facebook manipulate those or censor those as they were coming out?"
The role of fact checkers
Clegg said the social network decided, in the case of President Joe Biden's son, to reduce the prominence of the story for seven days. What was the objective? To allow time for their fact-checkers to "look at the story if they wanted to." However, the head of Meta's Global Affairs said, "they didn’t":
So, on the Hunter Biden story, other platforms, I think it was Twitter, sort of just deleted the story altogether. We didn’t. You could still find the story. Millions of people did. But for seven days the prominence of the story was less for those seven days. It’s just part of the way our systems work to allow our fact-checkers, we have a network of independent fact-checkers to look at the story if they wanted to. They didn’t. And after seven days, that — what’s called in the jargon — that temporary demotion was taken off. So, we didn’t remove it. People could find it. Many people saw it on Facebook. We were simply following the rules by which our systems currently operate.
In other words, Nick Clegg believes that the fact checkers did not do their job in time, although they could have. However, it does not say whether the company itself encouraged that entire network of verifiers to get the job done quickly.
Zuckerberg said he censored the story out of pressure from the FBI
However, the statements made by Meta's Head of Global Affairs differ slightly from those made by the company's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, during a interview with Joe Rogan in which he claimed that the FBI forced him to censor everything related to Hunter Biden's computer:
The background here is the FBI basically came to us — some of the folks on our team —and said, 'Hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert: We thought 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 that's similar to that, so just be vigilant.
The interview continued with Zuckerberg asserting that the matter "sucks," as "no one was able to say that (the information on the matter) was false."
Silence on the vaccine
However, Clegg maintained a steely silence on the other compromising issue Baier asked him about, vaccines. In fact, Clegg only mentioned Hunter Biden's laptop story.
Perhaps this was because Facebook recently admitted to censoring "true" data about the coronavirus vaccine. A member of the social network assured via email, that the company had deleted information about it:
We have been focused on reducing the virality of content discouraging vaccines that does not contain actionable information. This is often-true content, which we allow at the post level because it is important for people to be able to discuss both their personal experiences and concerns about the vaccine.