News

Twitter, Facebook criticised for limiting the spread of controversial Joe Biden article

Twitter and Facebook are facing criticism after preventing people from sharing a New York Post story alleging corruption by Joe Biden.

Facebook and Twitter have attracted criticism after limiting the spread of a controversial article about Joe Biden and his son Hunter written in the New York Post.

It’s the first time that a social media platform has taken such drastic steps against a major news publication and the move has sparked outrage amongst conservatives.

joe biden hunter facebook twitter censorship
Joe and Hunter Biden. Photo: Teresa Kroeger/Getty

Follow its publication, Twitter users reported they were unable to share links to the story, met instead with a notice stating: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.” Any links that had already been posted were branded with a message which read: “link may be unsafe”.

The article in question was based around a “smoking-gun email” between Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian official, which appears to mention a meeting between the latter and Joe Biden, who was serving as vice president at the time.

However, many have raised doubts about the authenticity of the article, including the legitimacy of the emails and how they were obtained. The Post claims that they were discovered by a computer-repair-shop owner on a laptop which had been dropped off by an unknown person and subsequently never picked up. However, according to Business Insider, the owner has been identified as an avid Trump supporter, John Paul Mac Isaac, who allegedly passed a copy of the computer’s hard drive onto Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Twitter, whose policies prohibit the direct distribution of “content obtained through hacking that contains private information”, claimed that they were limiting the spread of the article due to uncertainties around the “origins of the materials”. They later clarified it was because some of the images in the article contained personal information.

Facebook put similar restrictions on users’ ability to share the article, alleging that it was part of their “standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation”. 

However, the move drew much criticism from the right, including from Trump himself.

The decision even drew criticism from the other side of politics, with some arguing that it added fuel to the fire in the war between conservatives and social media platforms on the issue of censorship.

The Post’s story has been rejected by the Biden campaign with spokesperson Andrew Bates describing“We have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”

“Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath,” he continued.