Prompted by the revelation that Dr. Anthony Fauci—the nation's leading infectious disease expert—communicated with Facebook during the height of the coronavirus pandemic while the country was on lockdown, two top Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees are demanding more information about the social media oligarchs role in "censoring" content about the pandemic, including the origins of COVID-19.
In a letter to Zuckerberg sent on Wednesday, Ranking Members Jim Jordan and James Comer gave Zuckerberg until 5:00 pm on Jun. 23, 2021, to provide to them all documents and communications between Facebook employees and U.S. government employees, including Fauci, "referring or relating to COVID-19, including about the origins of the virus, nature of the virus, treatment of or remedies for the virus, or government policies relating to the COVID-19 pandemic."
Noting that "Big Tech is out to get conservatives," the letter points out that in light of Facebook's decision to censor certain COVID-19 content—including content about the origins of the pandemic—communications with Dr. Fauci "raise the prospect that the federal government induced Facebook to censor certain speech in violation of the First Amendment." The letter proceeds to state:
"For well over a year, Facebook has censored various speech related to COVID-19. Facebook censored speech about COVID-19's prevention and treatment. It censored speech about citizens' protests of government-mandated quarantines. Facebook also censored speech about COVID-19's origins. While censoring and suppressing these types of speech, Facebook amplified sources like the World Health Organization—even though such sources have proven to be conflicted in the past."
Fauci has faced mounting criticism since a stockpile of emails was published following a freedom of information request. Emails reveal Fauci was warned early in the pandemic that SARS-CoV-2 could have escaped from a lab, but the NIAID expert did not investigate further. With the growing suspicion surrounding the funding of 'gain of function' research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology using U.S. taxpayer dollars, the letter points out the possibility of a cover-up, noting:
"Shortly after President Biden announced that he had directed the intelligence community to investigate the origin of the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook announced that it would no longer censor certain content that effectively includes whether the pandemic originated in a Wuhan lab. It appears possible that Facebook's altered approach to content moderation concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, after 'consultation with public health experts,' could have been driven or strongly encouraged by U.S. officials."
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told FBN that the exchanges between Zuckerberg and Fauci raise questions, and Congress deserves answers. Jordan states it's conceivable that Facebook's decision to shut down any debate over the nature and origins of COVID-19 could have prevented pressure from being put on government officials to take the theory more seriously. "Why is this big tech platform working in cahoots with the government to suppress certain type of information that we now know was pretty darn credible?" asked Jordon, adding:
"There's probably two explanations. Either Zuckerberg and Facebook was duped like so many Americans were and thought Dr. Fauci is the smartest man on the planet…or they were working with the government. And it seems to be more of the latter."
With millions of Americans from all political platforms using Zuckerberg's Facebook, the letter emphasizes that significant issues like "elections" and "climate change" remain before us. Further, the letter suggests that, given the censorship regarding COVID-19, the tech giant appears likely to continue "throttling free speech" on those topics as well.