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Twitter, Facebook clamp down on New York Post article about Hunter Biden

Twitter and Facebook both took steps Wednesday to limit the spread of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden that has sparked questions about its sourcing.

The story published Wednesday morning includes allegations regarding Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Sanders hits back at Trump's attack on 'socialized medicine' Senate GOP to drop documentary series days before election hitting China, Democrats over coronavirus MORE and Ukraine that hinge on an email reportedly retrieved from the hard drive of a laptop dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.

An unnamed store owner, who reportedly could not identify the individual who dropped off the computer, is said to have provided a copy of the hard drive to Trump's personal lawyer Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiFacebook, Twitter CEOs to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee on Nov. 17 Latest 'Borat' footage appears to show star at the White House, meeting Trump Jr. Kushner friend arrested on cyberstalking charges MORE before it was seized by the FBI.

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Twitter took action on Wednesday by preventing users from sharing links to the story in tweets or direct messages.

The decision was made based on the platform’s hacked materials policy, a spokesperson for Twitter told The Hill.

The same policy was implemented over the summer to ban links to a trove of hacked police documents called “BlueLeaks.”

According to the policy, discussion of hacks “including reporting on a hack, or sharing press coverage of hacking” does not violate the rules.

The Twitter spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions about why the Post’s reporting is not included under that exemption.

The spokesperson noted that aggregations of the story will not be affected by the ban.

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Biden’s campaign responded to the Post story on Wednesday by saying numerous investigations have all concluded there was “no wrongdoing" by the former vice president regarding Ukraine, and said his official schedules from his time in office disprove a key aspect of the Post story.

Facebook also took action to limit the article’s spread but offered few details regarding those steps.

“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,” policy communications manager Andy Stone tweeted.

Facebook recently announced a policy on viral misinformation which says that "in many countries, including in the U.S., if we have signals that a piece of content is false, we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker."

It is unclear what “signals” triggered the limit on the Post article.

According to data from Crowdtangle, which is owned by Facebook, the link to the Post story has received more than 245,000 interactions on the platform despite Facebook's intervention.

It is unclear if Facebook will restrict the reach of articles that aggregate the Post story.

Facebook's decision quickly drew the ire of conservatives, including Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyJustice Department charges Google with illegally maintaining search monopoly Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform Hillicon Valley: Trump refuses to condemn QAnon | Twitter revises its policy, lets users share disputed article | Google sees foreign cyber threats MORE (R-Mo.), an outspoken critic of big tech companies.

The senator sent a letter to Facebook on Wednesday asking for an explanation of the move to limit the article's spread.

"You almost get the idea #bigtech wants to buy this election," he tweeted.