The FBI said that it “routinely notifies” private sector entities, including social media companies, of information related to potential threats after Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook limited the distribution of a controversial story leading up to the 2020 presidential election because of an FBI warning.
The statement followed Zuckerberg’s appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast on Thursday in which Zuckerberg said Facebook limited stories on the news feed related to the New York Post’s article about President Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his laptop after the FBI warned the company to be aware of potentially polarizing content.
Russia used social media platforms like Facebook to post intentionally polarizing content ahead of the 2016 election.
“The FBI has provided companies with foreign threat indicators to help them protect their platforms and customers from abuse by foreign malign influence actors,” the agency said in a statement.
The FBI said that it works with federal, state, local and private sector partners to keep the public informed of potential threats, but it cannot request or order companies to take any action based on the information it provides.
Meta tweeted after the podcast episode was posted online that Zuckerberg has shared this information publicly before when he testified to the Senate almost two years ago that the FBI warned Facebook about potential foreign threats.
The Post’s story on Hunter Biden reported that the FBI allegedly obtained a laptop belonging to him that may contain information related to a federal investigation into him.
Former President Trump and some conservative allies have said the report showed evidence that Hunter Biden was involved in questionable and potentially illegal business dealings while his father served as vice president.
Some of the emails on the laptop have been confirmed to be authentic, but no charges have been brought and no demonstrable wrongdoing from the president or his son has been confirmed.
A Meta spokesperson pointed to a USA Today story that reported on Zuckerberg telling Congress the FBI did not mention the Hunter Biden story to Facebook.
Many conservatives have criticized the FBI recently over its search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property, and some have called for defunding the agency.