(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The House Judiciary Committee was set on Thursday to hold Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress for his apparent refusal to provide information about Facebook censorship, but committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, announced that the contempt hearing will be postponed after the social media company provided responsive documents at the last minute.
The documents appear to be damning, showing smoking-gun evidence that the White House pressured the company to censor political content.
Dubbed by Jordan as the “Facebook Files,” the internal records include emails to and from top company officials, including Zuckerberg, Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and global affairs head Nick Clegg.
In one email, an unnamed Facebook employee told Zuckerberg and Sandberg in April 2021 that “we are facing continued pressure from external stakeholders, including the White House and the press, to remove more COVID-19 vaccine discouraging content.”
In another April 2021 email, Clegg told his team that Andy Slavitt, a senior advisor to President Joe Biden, was “outraged … that we did not remove this post, which was third most highly ranked post in the dataset we sent him.”
According to Jordan, the post Slavitt was furious about was a meme.
What did the Biden White House want removed?
That’s right, even memes weren’t spared from the Biden White House’s censorship efforts. pic.twitter.com/6BhDxTHsUi
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) July 27, 2023
Jordan also released internal Facebook discussions about how company officials wanted to return to the good graces of the Biden administration in early 2021. At the time, Biden had accused the company of “killing people” by allowing users to share COVID “misinformation.”
“[Facebook’s] Leadership asked Misinfo Policy . . . to brainstorm some additional policy levers we can pull to be more aggressive against . . . misinformation,” states an internal Facebook record from Aug. 2, 2021.
“This is stemming from the continued criticism of our approach from the [Biden] administration.”
According to Jordan, Facebook had refused to provide the abovementioned records until his committee threatened to hold Zuckerberg in contempt last week.
“These documents, AND OTHERS that were just produced to the Committee, prove that the Biden Admin abused its powers to coerce Facebook into censoring Americans, preventing free and open discourse on issues of critical public importance,” Jordan said on Twitter.
“Only after the Committee announced its intention to hold Mark Zuckerberg in contempt did Facebook produce ANY internal documents to the Committee, including these documents, which PROVE that government pressure was directly responsible for censorship on Facebook,” Jordan added.
The committee chair said that he’s still willing to hold Zuckerberg in contempt if he fails to continue to cooperate with his investigation.
“Based on Facebook’s newfound commitment to fully cooperate with the Committee’s investigation, the Committee has decided to hold contempt in abeyance. For now,” he said.
“To be clear, contempt is still on the table and WILL be used if Facebook fails to cooperate in FULL.”
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.