News, Culture & Society

Facebook and Twitter stop people sharing Joe Biden Ukraine story

Facebook and Twitter have been accused of ‘election interference’ for throttling the news story about Joe Biden meeting his son Hunter’s Ukrainian partners when he was Vice President, claiming it needs to be independently verified by fact-checkers. 

The story was published by The New York Post on Wednesday. It suggests that Biden met with Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi in 2015, when Hunter was working for Pozharskyi’s gas firm. Months later, Biden pressured Ukrainian officials into firing a prosecutor who was looking in to the firm. 

The Color Toner Experts

If true, it raises serious questions of whether or not Biden abused his power as Vice President. 

Facebook, however, has decided to ‘reduce distribution’ of the article until it has been verified by its own, third-party ‘fact checkers’. 

It didn’t say why it was taking the unusual step. 

Later, Twitter users reported being unable to share links to the story online. 

Now, conservatives are accusing big tech of interfering in the election and trying to protect Biden by ‘censoring’ the story while allowing unflattering stories about Trump to spread like wildfire. 

One New York Post editor called it a ‘digital civil war’ and others asked why the sites hadn’t taken the same tough line on anti-Trump stories, like The New York Times’ piece on his $750 tax returns.

The Post published an online editorial on Wednesday afternoon. It read in part: ‘Censor first, ask questions later: It’s an outrageous attitude for one of the most powerful platforms in the United States to take.’ 

Twitter has now also stopped users from sharing the story about Biden in a move that conservatives and the media are calling censorship and election interference 

Andy Stone, who is a policy communications director at Facebook announced the decision on Twitter on Wednesday

Andy Stone, who is a policy communications director at Facebook announced the decision on Twitter on Wednesday 

Hunter and Joe Biden. The Post story suggests that Joe, while Vice President, had a meeting with a Ukrainian businessman after being introduced to him by Hunter, eight months before pressuring Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the businessman's firm

Hunter and Joe Biden. The Post story suggests that Joe, while Vice President, had a meeting with a Ukrainian businessman after being introduced to him by Hunter, eight months before pressuring Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the businessman’s firm

‘No one is disputing the veracity of The Post’s story — not even Hunter Biden.

‘His lawyer George R. Mesires wouldn’t deign to comment on the reporting, simply attacking the messenger. 

‘The Biden campaign did the same, dismissing it all as “discredited,” while saying that no meeting showed up on Joe Biden’s official schedule on those dates (well if it wasn’t “official,” guess it didn’t happen).

‘Yet Facebook is deliberately trying to keep its users from reading and deciding for themselves what it means.

‘This, when it did nothing to restrict access to the recent New York Times story on President Trump’s tax returns. And the Times didn’t say a word about how it obtained that confidential personal data,’ the Post’s piece read.

Andy Stone, who is a policy communications director at Facebook announced the decision on Twitter.

‘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,’ he said. 

Donald Jr. was among the first to criticize it but others, including Republican Senator Josh Hawley, are now demanding answers from Facebook. 

‘Are you kidding me? After all the lies that they pushed about us and Russia collusion for years… now there’s credible evidence against the Bidens and they eliminated on their platform? 

‘Give me a break big tech has way too much power and it needs to be stopped? 

‘Joe said he never met these people and here’s an email refuting then why don’t they actually fat check in rather than just taking it off their platform. 

‘They know it will hurt Biden so they will do what they can to cover it up, that’s what they do,’ he fumed. 

In an open letter to Facebook, Sen. Hawley said: ‘It has come to my attention that this news report—one clearly relevant to the public interest—has been censored on Facebook. 

‘The seemingly selective nature of this public intervention suggests partiality on the part of Facebook. 

 ‘Censor first, ask questions later: It’s an outrageous attitude for one of the most powerful platforms in the United States to take.

The New York Post’s Editorial Board 

‘And your efforts to suppress the distribution of content revealing potentially unethical activity by a candidate for president raises a number of additional questions, to which I expect responses immediately.’ 

In its editorial, the Post said: ‘So much for Facebook’s claims to be a neutral platform: One of its top execs just put the social-media giant firmly in the pro-Biden camp.  

‘Andy Stone, the social-media company’s policy communications manager, boasted about burying The Post’s story on proof that Hunter Biden merchandized access to his dad.

‘Censor first, ask questions later: It’s an outrageous attitude for one of the most powerful platforms in the United States to take.

‘Especially when Stone wears his own bias on his sleeve: The quick biography he posts on Twitter shows his long history of working for Democrats, including lefty then-Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.’  

Facebook has been accused of election interference for making the decision

Facebook has been accused of election interference for making the decision 

Others accused Facebook of protecting Biden, the Democratic Presidential Candidate, while allowing unflattering stories about President Trump to spread. 

Conservative media outlet The Federalist said the company was now ‘officially censoring’ the Post. 

Facebook has not responded to inquiries about why it has reason to doubt the story or squash it.  

WHO ARE FACEBOOK’S FACT-CHECKERS

Facebook ‘partners’ with more than 30 fact checking organizations but nowhere does it provide a list of who they are or what their political leanings are.  

All it says is that they belong to the International Fact-Checking Network. 

Among them is The Daily Caller – a right-wing outlet. Snopes had been working with them but ended their partnership in 2019.  

They are tasked with returning a decision on whether or not a piece of content or article is truthful. 

After that, the company can still decide to overrule their decision and has in the past, notably in favor of outspoken Conservatives in an apparent effort not to appear as though they are favoring the Left.  

It is also unclear what the extent of the circulation reduction is.   

The New York Post is historically Conservative and the source for the story was Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump’s closest aides. 

He gave the Post a trove of emails in which Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi thanked Hunter for introducing him to his father, then the Vice President. 

Within months of the 2015 meeting that Pozharskyi refers to in the emails, Biden had successfully pressured Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was looking into Pozharskyi’s business.  

At the time, Hunter was being paid $50,000-a-month by Pozharskyi’s gas firm to act as a consultant, despite the fact he’d had no experience working in the gas industry.

After the Post story emerged on Wednesday, the Biden campaign said he had never met Vadym Pozharskyi.  

Biden has repeatedly insisted he was never influenced by Hunter’s dealings with Ukraine when he was Vice President. 

The emails were taken from a damaged laptop which was left, mysteriously, in a Delaware tech repair shop. 

It had a Beau Biden Foundation sticker on it and the person who dropped it off – who has not been identified – never collected it again. 

The store owner looked through the computer’s hard drive and not only found the emails but also found a video of Hunter Biden, a self-confessed drug addict, smoking crack while engaging in a sex act. 

After Facebook’s announcement on Wednesday, many asked if the company – which is notoriously left-leaning – would have applied the same type of scrutiny to the New York Times or any other Democrat-friendly media outlets. 

Earlier this year, when the Times published an expose about Trump only paying $750 in federal income tax for two years, the story spread like wildfire on social media. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg routinely resists sharing his political leanings. 

In recent years, he has been attacked on both sides of the aisle for occupying too much of the tech industry and market while resisting oversight boards.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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