Mark Zuckerberg tells Joe Rogan FBI warned Facebook of ‘Russian propaganda’ before Hunter Biden laptop story

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Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that the FBI approached Facebook warning the platform about “Russian propaganda” ahead of the bombshell Hunter Biden laptop story leading up to the 2020 presidential election. 

Appearing on Thursday's installment of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Zuckerberg was asked about Facebook's suppression of the New York Post's reporting that shed light on the shady foreign business dealings of the son of then-candidate Joe Biden.

Zuckerberg began by stressing how Facebook took a “different path” than Twitter, which completely censored the Post's reporting while Facebook limited its reach on the platform. 

“Basically, the background here is the FBI, I think, basically came to us- some folks on our team and was like, ‘Hey, just so you know, like, 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 of that's similar to that. So just be vigilant,'” Zuckerberg told host Joe Rogan.  

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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020.
(George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Zuckerberg insisted that Facebook users were “still allowed to share” the Post's reporting on the Hunter Biden laptop even as their “third-party fact-checking program” was looking into whether it was misinformation, but acknowledged that the “ranking in [the] news feed was a little bit less” and that “fewer people saw it than would've otherwise.”

“By what percentage?” Rogan asked. 

“I don't know off the top of my head, but it's- it's meaningful,” Zuckerberg responded. “But we weren't sort of as black and white about it as Twitter. We just kind of thought hey look, if the FBI, which I still view is a legitimate institution in this country, it's a very professional law enforcement- they come to us and tell us that we need to be on guard about something then I want to take that seriously.”

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“Did they specifically say you need to be on guard about that story?” Rogan followed.

“No, I don't remember if it was that specifically, but it basically fit the pattern,” Zuckerberg said. 

FBI headquarters building is seen in Washington, U.S., December 7, 2018. 

FBI headquarters building is seen in Washington, U.S., December 7, 2018. 
(REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)

When asked if there was any “regret” about suppressing a story that turned out be factual, Zuckerberg replied, “Yeah, yeah. I mean, it sucks.” 

However, he went on to defend Facebook's practices, telling Rogan its process was “pretty reasonable” since his platform still allowed the New York Post articles to be distributed rather than the complete blackout that Twitter enforced. 

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Rogan appeared sympathetic to Zuckerberg's predicament, especially regarding the FBI's warning of Russian propaganda. 

“It's probably also the case of armchair quarterbacking, right? Or at least Monday morning quarterbacking… because in the moment, you had reason to believe based on the FBI talking to you that it wasn't real and that there was going to be some propaganda. So what do you do?” Rogan said. “And then, if you just let it get out there and what if it changes the election and it turns out to be bulls—, that's a real problem. And I would imagine that those kinds of decisions are the most difficult.”

Podcast giant Joe Rogan grilled Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook's suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election.

Podcast giant Joe Rogan grilled Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg about Facebook's suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story during the 2020 presidential election.
(The Joe Rogan Experience/Spotify)

In the final weeks of the 2020 presidential election, both Big Tech and the liberal media suppressed the bombshell revelations that emerged from Hunter Biden's laptop. 

Both Zuckerberg and then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressed regret for their actions limiting the distribution of the New York Post's reporting and several news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News and Politico have since verified the authenticity of the laptop.

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Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., revealed this week in a letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz that whistleblowers allege FBI officials told agents not to investigate Hunter Biden's laptop for months over concerns it would impact the 2020 election. 

According to Johnson, “individuals with knowledge” of the Hunter Biden case told his office that the investigation was intentionally slowed on orders from “local FBI leadership.” 

Senate Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa said other whistleblower allegations reveal a “deeply rooted political infection” within the FBI.

Fox News' Timothy H.J. Nerozzi contributed to this report. 

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