The new installment of the "Facebook Files" continues to demonstrate the power that the White House attempted to utilize, and how this government institution tried to benefit media outlets that were more sympathetic to them over others more critical of them. During a new chapter, Republican Representative Jim Jordan claimed that the Biden Administration tried to benefit media outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal over more Republican-friendly outlets such as the Daily Wire and Tomi Lahren.
But that’s not all.
The Biden White House wanted to control what you saw on Facebook.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) August 3, 2023
In the document, which Jordan unveiled exclusively, Rob Flaherty's name reappears. The man seems to be an indispensable source for the White House to communicate with Facebook officials and it was he who launched the following recommendation:
If you were to change the algorithm so that people were more likely to see NYT, WSJ, any authoritative news source over Daily Wire, Tomi Lahren, polarizing people. You wouldn’t have a mechanism to check the material impact?
WhatsApp, also in the spotlight
The tweets are part of the latest release made by Representative Jordan after he managed to gain access to several documents exchanged between the social network owned by Zuckerberg and the White House. However, they could not publish them until the House Judiciary Committee got hold of the materials.
The censorship they tried to apply to right-wing media was not only on Facebook, but also on WhatsApp. There, Jordan showed that Flaherty attempted to pressure Meta to spy on and censor users of WhatsApp, the world's most widely used private (and supposedly encrypted) messaging platform. On that occasion, recalls Breitbart, Flaherty asked social network officials how they could cripple "misinformation" on WhatsApp if they couldn't see people's messages: "If you can’t see the message, I’m genuinely curious—how do you know what kinds of messages you’ve cut down on?"
Measures to prevent online censorship on Facebook?
In the wake of this new installment, two Republicans in Congress decided to introduce a bill to allow citizens to sue certain federal employees if they have evidence that they were illegally censored online. Known as the Censorship Accountability Bill, this rule was introduced by Missouri Republican Senator Eric Schmitt and North Carolina Republican Representative Dan Bishop.
As Schmitt detailed in a statement, the bill "is designed to deter censorship in the first place, but if officials violate the First Amendment again, the Act gives the American people recourse." This regulation comes in the wake of the controversial "Facebook Files." It was then that Schmitt decided to take matters into his own hands:
The Biden Administration’s brazen collusion with social media companies to censor speech should frighten every American regardless of their political affiliation. When I served as Missouri’s Attorney General, I filed the landmark Missouri v. Biden lawsuit, which exposed all of this censorship. Now, I’m taking action to ensure that it never happens again. This legislation would allow citizens to hold individual bureaucrats accountable if they collude with social media companies to censor speech. I’ve already filed legislation that would hold the social media companies accountable if they censor speech, now I’m working to hold the federal government actors accountable.