Facebook has reduced the distribution of a New York Post story containing bombshell information indicating that — contrary to his previous denials — Joe Biden allegedly did meet with an adviser to the board of Burisma while he was vice president, arranged by his son Hunter, who was then working as a lobbyist for the company. Twitter followed suit soon after, labeling links to the story “unsafe.”
The story made the front page of the Post, which also reveals that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating emails provided to it by a whistleblower, allegedly between Hunter Biden and executives at Burisma.
His father has previously said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”
But according to emails obtained by the Post, Hunter introduced his father to a Burisma executive less than a year before the then-vice president pressured the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.
Facebook spokesman and former Democrat staffer Andy Stone announced the decision on Twitter, and also practically invited Facebook’s supposedly neutral fact-checkers to challenge the story.
Significantly, the social network took the rare step of acting in advance of a decision by its “third-party fact-checkers,” on which it usually relies on to defer responsibility for censoring news publishers.
That move is practically unprecedented, arguably protecting the former vice president from a major political scandal at a critical time in the 2020 election.
“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,” said Stone. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
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.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020
Twitter followed Facebook’s lead, censoring existing links to the New York Post article as “unsafe,” and preventing people — including the newspaper’s own employees — from posting new ones.
“This is a Big Tech information coup,” said the New York Post’s op-eds editor, Sohrab Ahmari. “This is digital civil war.”
“I, an editor at the New York Post, one of the nation’s largest papers by circulation, can’t post one of our own stories that details corruption by a major-party presidential candidate, Joe Biden.”
This is a Big Tech information coup. This is digital civil war.
I, an editor at The New York Post, one of the nation’s largest papers by circulation, can’t post one of our own stories that details corruption by a major-party presidential candidate, Biden. pic.twitter.com/BKNQmAG19H
— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) October 14, 2020
Twitter also claimed the article lacked “authoritative information,” but did not explain this position further.
The censorship drew instant condemnation from Republicans. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said, “So Facebook is going to actively censor a [New York Post] investigative story on the Democrat candidate for president. But rest assured, Facebook is a neutral platform with no political viewpoints!”
“I want to know on what grounds you are actively censoring a news report about potentially illegal corruption by the Democrat candidate for president,” said Hawley in a follow-up tweet. “If you have evidence this is ‘disinformation,’ disclose it immediately.”
“Expect a formal inquiry from my office.”
So @Facebook is going to actively censor a @nypost investigative story on the Democrat candidate for president. But rest assured, Facebook is a neutral platform with no political viewpoints! https://t.co/xKnTRIWUip
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 14, 2020
In a tweet later in the day, Hawley posted the full text of his letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, calling on him to explain his company’s actions.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 14, 2020
In a tweet posted to the Trump War Room twitter account, the Trump campaign accused Facebook of election interference.
“This is a Facebook employee. Facebook is actively interfering in the election. Facebook is rigging the election for Joe Biden.”
This is a Facebook employee.
Facebook is actively interfering in the election.
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) October 14, 2020
“This is straight-up election interference by Facebook, being announced by their comms person who touts in his bio numerous past jobs with Dems,” said Donald Trump Jr. “Big Tech is openly trying to rig this election for Biden & should be held accountable immediately.”
This is straight-up election interference by @Facebook, being announced by their comms person who touts in his bio numerous past jobs with Dems. Big Tech is openly trying to rig this election for Biden & should be held accountable immediately. @FCC @senjudiciary @SenateCommerce https://t.co/NO2eG6D6K0
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) October 14, 2020
The Post has responded with an article titled, “Facebook censors The Post to help Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign.” The Post writes, “Censor first, ask questions later: It’s an outrageous attitude for one of the most powerful platforms in the United States to take.”
Breitbart News has reached out to Facebook and Twitter for comment.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. His new book, #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election, which contains exclusive interviews with sources inside Google, Facebook, and other tech companies, is currently available for purchase.
Author: Allum Bokhari