Joe Rogan speaking on podcast (l) Mark Zuckerberg speaking on podcast on red background (r)


GOP demands Facebook’s emails on Hunter Biden laptop after Mark Zuckerberg’s comments on Joe Rogan podcast

Zuckerberg probably didn't expect this outcome.


David Covucci


Posted on Aug 30, 2022

A number of bad things can happen when you get involved with Joe Rogan. You can become a meme, you can face fan backlash, or, in what appears to be the worst possible outcome, you can become the subject of a potential congressional investigation.

Mark Zuckerberg probably didn’t expect to be hit with demands from Republican senators after appearing on Rogan last week, but that’s exactly what happened. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) sent a letter to Zuckerberg and Meta demanding communications around Meta’s (then Facebook) decision to censor stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the run-up to the 2020 election.

On Rogan’s podcast, Zuckerberg said that the platform was approached by the FBI and warned that a potential “Russian disinformation” campaign might occur before the 2020 election.

The letter quotes from Zuckerberg’s appearance. Zuckerberg said that “The FBI, I think basically came to us—some folks on our team—and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, you should be on high alert. We thought that 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.’”

Zuckerberg said that Meta then used that knowledge as a reason to censor the initial story from the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Meta and Twitter’s decisions to halt sharing of the story prompted outrage. Although a number of experts proposed that the laptop might have been a disinformation campaign aimed at helping then-President Donald Trump, the provenance and contents of the laptop have long since been proved true.

Since then, congressional GOP members have been attempting to investigate social media companies for their actions in advance of the election. And Zuckerberg’s Rogan appearance has given them another in. With Zuckerberg saying the FBI may have primed Meta to take down something that could disrupt the election, Grassley and Johnson want Meta to answer questions about what exactly went down with the FBI.

“Your revelation that Facebook took steps to censor information about Hunter Biden on its platform based on the FBI’s guidance raises even more questions about the FBI’s actions regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop. As you may know, whistleblowers have recently alleged to Senator Grassley that in August 2020, FBI officials initiated a scheme to downplay derogatory information on Hunter Biden … The American people deserve to know whether the FBI used Facebook as part of their alleged plan to discredit information about Hunter Biden.”

The news comes as an FBI agent, Tommy Thibault, resigned this week. According to a report, Thibault was the subject of a whistleblower complaint that alleges he and the FBI attempted to downplay any investigation into Biden and his laptop as part of a scheme to influence the 2020 election.

In Grassley and Johnson’s letter, the two specifically ask what agents and FBI personnel approached Meta, as part of their efforts to prove the FBI acted to sway the election away from Trump.

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*First Published: Aug 30, 2022, 9:42 am CDT