Big Tech Caitlin Johnstone Censorship

Caitlin Johnstone: FBI’s Muting of Hunter Biden’s Story

Zuckerberg’s deployment of algorithms to please the F.B.I. is a glaring example of how billionaires and government work together to control information in an oligarchy.
Screenshot of Mark Zuckerberg on The Joe Rogan Experience.

By Caitlin Johnstone /

Listen to a reading of this article.

Facebook restricted visibility of The New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story in the lead-up to the 2020 election after receiving counsel from the F.B.I., according to Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“So we took a different path than Twitter,” Zuckerberg said during a Thursday appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience.

“Basically the background here is the F.B.I., I think basically came to us — some folks on our team and was like, ‘Hey, um, just so you know, like, you should be on high alert. There was the — 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 said a decision was made to restrict that information on Facebook’s multibillion-user platform. He said that unlike Twitter, which banned the sharing of the article entirely, Facebook opted for the somewhat subtler option of censorship by algorithm.

“The distribution on Facebook was decreased,” he said, adding when pressed by Rogan that the decreased visibility of the article happened to a “meaningful” extent.

As we’ve discussed previously, censorship by algorithm is becoming the preferred censorship method on large Silicon Valley platforms because it can be done to far more people with far less objection than outright de-platforming and bans.

In addition to being censored across social media platforms, the Hunter Biden laptop story was first ignored and dismissed by the mainstream news media, then spun as a Russian disinformation operation. Those media outlets eventually came around to admitting that the leaked emails were probably authentic, and Hunter Biden tacitly authenticated them himself when he acknowledged that the information “could” have come from his laptop.

Nothing we know so far that came from that laptop was as scandalous as the unified front presented by the news media and Silicon Valley in reducing the political impact of an October surprise before a presidential election.

And now we know that the reason the world’s largest social media platform censored that particular story was because they were cautioned by the F.B.I. against allowing such information to circulate. How many of those other institutions suppressed that news story because they were told to by the F.B.I. or other government agencies? How often are U.S. government agencies involving themselves in the act of censorship? What other information is being suppressed in this or similar ways? What other information will be suppressed in the future?

Because of the veils of government and corporate secrecy which obscure our view of the behaviors of power, we don’t get to have answers to these questions. All we get to have is what oligarchs like Zuckerberg choose to tell us, in whatever way and to whatever extent they choose to tell us about them.

But even what we’ve been told is pretty ugly. A government agency and a social media platform of unprecedented influence teaming up together to silence impactful political speech is censorship by any sane definition. Mainstream liberals can come up with all kinds of arguments for why the continually expanding justifications for online censorship are fine and normal and not really censorship, but are they able to maintain those justifications when government agencies are actively involved? Is it really better when political speech is being censored by a collaboration of government operatives and billionaires than censored directly by the government alone?

Alan MacLeod has been putting out a number of reports with Mintpress News documenting the way many veterans from the F.B.I., C.I.A., NSA and other government agencies have been recruited to work for tech companies like Google/YouTube, Facebook/Meta and Twitter. The intimacy with which these government and corporate entities are working together is growing and they’re making less and less effort to conceal it.

In a power structure without clear boundaries separating corporations from the government, corporate censorship is state censorship. The mightiest power structure on Earth is growing more and more brazen and shameless about this reality.

You know you are living in an oligarchy when Mark Zuckerberg has more political influence over your country than any elected official. Democracy is an illusion. Those who live under the U.S. empire are a propagandized and politically impotent population who only think they are free because they’ve been given the illusion of freedom, and less and less effort is being made to sustain that illusion.

We are ruled by unelected sociopaths who have no wisdom, no compassion, and no intention of ever relinquishing their rule. This will continue unless and until enough of us wake up to what’s going on to stop them.

Caitlin Johnstone
Caitlin Johnstone

Caitlin Johnstone’s work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following her on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into her tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy her books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff she publishes is to subscribe to the mailing list at her website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything she publishes.  For more info on who she is, where she stands and what she’s trying to do with her platform, click here. All works are co-authored with her American husband Tim Foley.


  1. Given the lock-step uniformity of elected officials, MZ if not most oligarchs at least has a platform and a bit of influence. The military and other MIC are far more dangerous to humankind.

    Excellent post.

  2. What do you have when there is no daylight between the government at large corporations? Hint: Mussolini told us, and it begins with an F.

  3. “The distribution on Facebook was decreased,” he said, adding when pressed by Rogan that the decreased visibility of the article happened to a “meaningful” extent.
    … Rogan should have pursued this even more than he did. Zuckerberg knows exactly how much it was suppressed. Were 90% of the users blocked from seeing the story? 27%? It makes a difference.

  4. I agree completely with Mz Johnstone’s view that we’re in the claws of a malignant oligarchy. As a result, we’re in real trouble.
    We’ve ALWAYS been in the grip of an oligarchy. What bothers me about her view is the one-sidedness. She doesn’t include any observations of FBI/media control & coverup of Trump’s connections with the Russian Mafia spanning 20 years or more. Vyacheslav(?) Ivankov, who was at the top of that Mafia and a ruthless, murderous thug, not only was convicted by a U.S. court, spending 10 years in prison (in the U.S.!) but afterward had an office in the Trump Tower. As did 3 or 4 other known Mafia figures.
    Nor did the FBI/Media ever reveal, during the ’16 campaign any of Trumps 50 year long trail of criminal behavior. Indeed, Cy Vance years ago, having Don Jr & Ivanka dead to rights for criminal indictment involving fraud and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, dropped the case. And he also stretched out the SDNY investigations of Trump until he could retire, handing it off to his successor right at the indictment phase, who then decided not to pursue it any further. A number of J.D. lawyers resigned in protest.
    I could go on for pages – but my point is that the right wing shills like Mz Johnstone only have eyes for ………..Hunter!
    We are in the grip of a global organized crime wave that has been building for decades, and which poisons everything. And there’s no solution in sight.
    As distasteful and surely scandalous and illegal as Hunter Biden’s peccadillos have been, they pale in comparison with the Trump family’s malignancy. And the strange FBI collusion in keeping a lid on it from the beginning of the ’16 campaign. Hunter’s story is a tiny fragment of the cancer. Trump’s is ongoing in spite of overwhelming evidence.

  5. Your ongoing lack of ideas on just how we, “…until enough of us wake up to what’s going on to stop them.”, get our government to behave with morals, ethics, making democracy its utmost top priority, is just tiring. I believe we have no threads of democracy left, but when you moan about it, without any ideas of how we change it, I just find it tiresome. Share ideas. Not just what we (all of us who’re awake) already know.

  6. A very important subject.

    Frank Herbert said that “Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.” That has been what we have witnessed now for some time.

    Censorship only clears the pathway for more corruptible people. It has become the corrupt versus the corrupt. A down spiral into the abyss.

    And about all some of us can say that don’t want to be corrupted is “don’t let yourself become part of the lie.”

  7. given that “alternative US media”—scheerpost truth dig previously and others are unofficial democrat party organs, it cannot be claimed that FB is distinctive Sui generis….nowhere are radical analyses permitted.

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