Zuckerberg: FBI Caution Led to Limiting Story on Hunter Biden

Facebook founder defends process in interview with Joe Rogan
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2022 4:40 PM CDT
Zuckerberg: FBI Caution Led to Limiting Story on Hunter Biden
Mark Zuckerberg speaks at Georgetown University in Washington in 2019.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

When the New York Post published a story saying then-Vice President Joe Biden was involved in his son Hunter's business machinations in Ukraine, shortly before the 2020 presidential election, Facebook restricted sharing of the article. Twitter did, too. Facebook's founder says the decision was made after warnings about misinformation from the FBI—which said the Biden story "fit that pattern" but didn't claim it was false, the BBC reports. "The FBI came to us—some folks on our team—and was like 'hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert," Mark Zuckerberg said. "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.'"

On his podcast, Joe Rogan asked Zuckerberg if he regretted briefly limiting automatic sharing of the article, which cited as evidence emails purportedly from Hunter Biden's laptop. "It sucks," Zuckerberg answered, though he defended his company's process. Facebook's outside fact-checkers were unable to conclude that the Post story was false, he said, per CNN. Facebook users could still share the article, but Zuckerberg said distribution was curbed for "five or seven days." Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also has said his company made a bad call on the story.

The basis was that Hunter Biden had left a laptop in a repair shop that held emails about introducing a Ukrainian energy tycoon to his father, though there's no record of the elder Biden attending such a meeting. The Washington Post later found at least parts of the account credible, and the Justice Department launched an investigation. Zuckerberg told Rogan that his view at the time was that if people from the FBI "come to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something, then I'm going to take that seriously." (More Mark Zuckerberg stories.)

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