Today, Facebook has suppressed the New York Post's Hunter Biden story on the social media platform. Andy Stone, who currently works as Policy Communications Manager for Facebook, tweeted making a point to not link to the Post's story, adding, "While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want [to] 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 doubled down two hours later by sending a second tweet stating, "This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation. We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review."
Facebook says it's slowing the spread of a dubiously-sourced New York Post article that purports to contain files and emails from Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden.
Twitter has apparently followed suit, labeling the article "potentially harmful." The Post’s op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmari was blocked from sharing the story. He said, "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."
Business Insider reported, "Facebook is now relying on its network of more than 50 fact-checking organizations, which includes the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and the Daily Caller, to verify the truth of the contents of the story. Facebook has run its third-party fact-checking program since the end of 2016 in an effort to curb the proliferation of misinformation and fake news on its platform".
A spokesperson for Twitter said they are blocking the link to the Post story because it is "In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter."
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) tweeted in response to the censoring, "So [Facebook] is going to actively censor a [NY Post] investigative story on the Democrat candidate for president. But rest assured, Facebook is a neutral platform with no political viewpoints!"
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) sent a warning to the social media giants via Twitter by stating, "Big Tech has spoken. You will see and read only what it finds politically acceptable. Twitter, Facebook, and all the rest of you: If you want to act like publishers, we will treat you like publishers."
The New York Post published a second article by the Post Editorial Board in response to the suppression by stating, "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. And Twitter soon followed suit." The article went on to say, "Censor first, ask questions later: It’s an outrageous attitude for two of the most powerful platforms in the United States to take. Yet Facebook and Twitter are deliberately trying to keep its users from reading and deciding for themselves what it means."
The Board continued, "This when neither did a thing 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 — is there no possible hacking there, Twitter?"