Joe and Hunter Biden: Why did Facebook, Twitter block dubious story? Internet says ‘Big Tech can’t silence us’

Joe and Hunter Biden: Why did Facebook, Twitter block dubious story? Internet says ‘Big Tech can’t silence us’
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The recent story by New York Post about “smoking-gun-email” revealing the alleged conversation between former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian official has sent shockwaves across social media. 

The original story by the publication raises many questions about Joe Biden allegedly using his power to stop an investigation surrounding Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian natural-gas company. Hunter served on the board of the company until April 2019. The report, based on the alleged emails, claims that Hunter “introduced” his father “to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.”

The article further claims that the material obtained from the computer consisted of “a raunchy, 12-minute video that appears to show Hunter, who’s admitted struggling with addiction problems, smoking crack while engaged in a sex act with an unidentified woman, as well as numerous other sexually explicit images.”

The report showcases an image of a federal subpoena, showing that the computer and hard drive consisting of the alleged emails were seized by the FBI from the local shop owner, who reportedly owns a repair shop in Joe Biden’s home state where a water-damaged MacBook Pro allegedly comprising the alleged details was dropped off. However, the authenticity of the story is unconfirmed and several media outlets have dubbed it as “dubious.”

Soon, the story went viral on social media as Republicans from the Trump circle and others started sharing it on social media. However, Twitter and Facebook both decided to “reduce the reach” and “banned” posting links related to the New York Post story citing a couple of policies. 

Why did Twitter and Facebook block users from sharing the original story?

On October 14, the Facebook policy communications manager shared a tweet saying, “While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.” In another tweet, he noted that “This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation. We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review.”


Meanwhile, Twitter also banned linking to the Post story, initially stating the site’s rules against posting “hacking material.” One of Twitter’s spokespersons reportedly told The Verge, “In line with our hacked materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter”. 

Twitter and Facebook’s decision to ban the circulation and sharing of the story against Joe and Hunter Biden did not go well with Trump for the obvious reasons, as he went on to threaten to “Repeal Section 230”, in a tweet which read, “So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of 'Smoking Gun' emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!” 



Following Trump’s tweet, the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey shared a tweet saying, “Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable.”




Twitter Safety also shared a thread of tweets detailing the reasons for its action with respect to the story and to provide more clarity on the same. The tweets note that the article “includes personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules.”



It was only a matter of time before Internet users took to Twitter to express their opinion about Facebook and Twitter’s role in censoring the information shared on their respective portals. One tweeted, "I don't need anyone to make that choice for me. I look at facts and as many sources that I can to make an informed choice, sources on left and right. Decide for yourself, if you need big tech to do it for you that's your problem." Another added, "Big tech has been doing this for over 10 years. They're just now feeling emboldened enough to put their fist on the scale. Who's going to stop them?" Meanwhile, one wrote, "Repost ! U can’t silence us big tech" Another added, "Too late. Big Tech must be dismantled. You have too much power, and it only benefits the Left."








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