Throttles distribution of smoking-gun email before ‘independent fact check’
Facebook has throttled distribution of a bombshell New York Post report Wednesday contradicting Joe Biden’s claim that he knew nothing about his son Hunter Biden’s lucrative deal with a corrupt Ukrainian firm while the former vice president was overseeing Ukraine policy.
The social-media giant said it reduced distribution of the story even before it could be “independently fact-checked.”
Later Wednesday, attempts to post the article to Twitter awere being blocked, with a message saying: “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”
The Post reported earlier Wednesday the FBI’s seizure in December of a MacBook Pro that apparently once belonged to Hunter Biden. It contained emails indicating Joe Biden was aware of and involved in his son’s dealings with Burisma. A federal subpoena obtained by the Post shows the computer and the hard drive were seized from a Delaware repair shop after the owner alerted federal authorities.
In a follow-up report Wednesday, the Post said the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is working with the repairman to verify the documents.
Hunter Biden was paid some $50,000 a month to serve on the Burisma board at a time when the company was the target of a corruption investigation. Meanwhile, Joe Biden was the Obama administration’s point man for Ukraine policy, which was focused on an anti-corruption campaign. The former vice president is on video boasting that he, threatening to withhold a $1 billion loan guarantee, pressured Ukrainian officials to fire the country’s top prosecutor, who was investigating Burisma at the time.
Andy Stone, Facebook’s policy communications director, a former staffer for Democratic PACs and Congress members, explained on Twitter why the article was censored shortly after its publication
“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,” Stone wrote.
About an hour later, he explained the move was “part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.”
“We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review,” he tweeted.
After the story broke, Joe Biden’s campaign called a lid on the day, shutting down campaigning at 9:41 a.m.