President Joe Biden’s administration pressured Meta to restrict messages on WhatsApp, according to newly disclosed emails.
Rob Flaherty, an assistant to the president, messaged Meta executives in March 2021 to ask about how the company was working to reduce “harm,” one of the emails shows.
“On Whatsapp, which I may seem like I’m playing gotcha, but I guess I’m confused about how you’re measuring reduction of harm,” he wrote in one email. “If you can’t see the message, I’m genuinely curious—how do you know what kinds of messages you’ve cut down on? Assuming you’ve got a good mousetrap here, that’s the kind of info we’re looking for … what interventions you’ve taken, and what you’d found to work and not work?”
“I guess I have the same question here as I do on Facebook on Instagram. Do you guys think you have this under control? You’re obviously going to say yes to that, so I guess the real question is, as ever: how are you measuring success? Reduction in forwarding? Measured impact across Facebook properties?” Flaherty added in another email.
WhatsApp is a private messaging service that Facebook bought in 2014, sparking concerns about user privacy. Meta is the parent company of both WhatsApp and Facebook.
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