Is Twitter blocking users from the ability to share a recent New York Post article about Hunter Biden? Yes, the social media platform is.
Early Sunday morning, the Post released an article containing several controversial claims about Hunter Biden, related to his work in Ukraine and his history of addiction. The Post said that it received this information via a “massive trove of data recovered from a laptop compter.” This laptop computer was dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware near Biden’s home, the Post claims. The shop owner then allegedly made a copy of the hard drive and delivered it to Rudy Giuliani, who provided it to the Post.
There has been intense criticism and speculation regarding whether or not there’s any proof of this “paper trail,” and whether there is any veracity to the “data” the Post has released. You can read more about why this article has been dismissed as “propaganda” and a “smear” in this breakdown by journalist David Corn for MotherJones.
On Sunday, a Biden spokesperson denied all of the claims made in the article, and offered the following statement, per Politico:
“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.
The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story. They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani – whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported – claimed to have such materials. Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”
Now, Twitter is preventing users from sharing the article. Due to this, there’s been a second wave of outrage over the article, this time in the opposite direction as the first: those who want to share the article and come to find they can’t, due to a misinformation block by Twitter, are accusing the network of censorship.
A managing editor at the Post wrote of the block, “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.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Yes, Twitter Is Preventing Users From Sharing or DMing the New York Post Article
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) October 14, 2020
If you try to share the New York Post’s article, you’re likely going to have some trouble. As shown in the screenshot above, Twitter’s official message to users who try to share the post reads, “Your Tweet couldn’t be sent because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our help center to learn more.”
Specifically, Twitter is preventing users from sharing the Post’s article link in a tweet, or from DMing it to someone. You are still allowed to tweet about the article.
Facebook has also taken steps to decrease the spread of this article. Andy Stone, the Policy Communications Director at Facebook, tweeted on Sunday, “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.”
As of Sunday afternoon, users are still able to share the Post article on Facebook. Stone’s tweet indicates that Facebook will make a person or organization’s post about the article visible to fewer people than normal, thus “reducing its distribution.”
The Post’s Primary Twitter Account Was Locked on Sunday Afternoon, Following the Article’s Release
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) October 14, 2020
In addition to blocking the article from being shared, Twitter took further steps on Sunday to punish the Post for an apparent violation of Twitter guidelines. Noah Manskar, a business reporter for the Post, said the newspaper received an email from Twitter stating that the Post’s primary Twitter account was locked, because the Biden story violated Twitter’s rules against “distribution of hacked material.”
Manskar tweeted, “Twitter says this was done because of the lack of authoritative reporting on where the materials in our Biden story originated. Per the story, the emails came off a copy of a hard drive obtained by Rudy Giuliani; original hard drive was left at a Delaware computer repair shop”