Donald Trump Jr. has accused Facebook of influencing the election for limiting the spread of the New York Post story claiming that Joe Biden met with a Ukrainian businessman as Vice President, enabling people to share more online.
The announcement came Wednesday with no explanation from the social media giant and even before Biden had even denied it.
It once again puts the spotlight on the exorbitant power Facebook has over not just news dissemination but politics and information dissemination, and comes at a particularly tense time with the presidential election coming up in just three weeks. It also begs the question of who Facebook's fact checkers are and what enables them to convey the truth.
Andy Stone, Director Policy Communications at Facebook, announced the decision on Twitter.
'While I purposely won't link to the New York Post, I want to make it clear that this story can be verified by Facebook's third-party fact-checking service. In the meantime, we are reducing the spread on our platform, ”he said.
Donald Jr. was one of the first to criticize this, but others, including Republican Senator Josh Hawley, are now calling for responses from Facebook.
Andy Stone, Director Policy Communications at Facebook, announced the decision on Twitter on Wednesday
Hunter and Joe Biden. The Post story goes that while Joe was Vice President, Joe had a meeting with a Ukrainian businessman after being introduced to him by Hunter eight months before pressuring Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who ran the company of the Business man examined
& # 39; Are you kidding me? After all the lies they made about us and Russia for years … is there now credible evidence against the Bidens and they got rid of it on their platform?
"Give me a break Big Tech has way too much power and needs to be stopped?
"Joe said he never met these people and here's an email that belies why they're not really checking in fat instead of just taking them off their platform."
"They know it is going to hurt Biden, so they're going to do what they can to cover up, they do," he snorted.
In an open letter to Facebook, Senator Hawley said, “I noticed that this news report – one that is clearly relevant to the public interest – has been censored on Facebook.
& # 39; The seemingly selective nature of this public intervention suggests a bias on the part of Facebook.
"And your efforts to stifle the distribution of content that exposes potentially unethical activities by a presidential candidate raise a number of additional questions that I expect immediate answers."
Facebook was accused of intervening in the decision
Others accused Facebook of protecting Democratic presidential candidate Biden while spreading flattering stories about President Trump.
Conservative media broadcaster The federalist said the company is now officially censoring the post.
Facebook hasn't responded to inquiries about why there is reason to doubt the story or crush it.
The extent of the reduction in circulation is also unclear.
WHO ARE FACTBOOK'S FACT-CHECKERS?
Facebook & # 39; Partner & # 39; with more than 30 fact-checking organizations but nowhere to find a list of who they are or what political leanings they have.
It just means that they are part of the International Fact-Checking Network.
Among them is The Daily Caller – a right-wing outlet. Snopes had worked with them but ended their partnership in 2019.
Their job is to return a decision on whether or not a piece of content or article is true.
After that, the company can still choose to override its decision, and in the past has tried not to appear to favor the left, particularly in favor of outspoken conservatives.
The New York Post is historically conservative, and the source for the story was Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump's closest advisers.
He gave the Post a plethora of emails in which Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi thanked Hunter for introducing him to his father, the then vice-president.
Within months of the 2015 meeting that Pozharskyi referred to in the emails, Biden had successfully pressured Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was dealing with Pozharskyi's business.
At the time, Hunter was receiving $ 50,000 a month from Pozharskyi's gas company as a consultant despite having no experience in the gas industry.
After the Post story was released on Wednesday, the Biden campaign said he never met Vadym Pozharskyi.
Biden has repeatedly insisted that as Vice President he was never influenced by Jäger's dealings with Ukraine.
The emails were taken from a damaged laptop that was mysteriously left behind in a Delaware technical repair shop.
It had a Beau Biden Foundation sticker on it, and the person who dropped it – who was not identified – never collected it again.
The shopkeeper looked through the computer's hard drive and found not only the e-mails but also a video of Hunter Biden, an avowed drug addict who smoked crack while engaging in sex.
Following Facebook's announcement on Wednesday, many asked if the company – which is known to be left-wing – had scrutinized the New York Times or other pro-democracy media in the same way.
Earlier this year, when the Times published an exposé on Trump showing only $ 750 in income tax paid for two years, the story spread like wildfire on social media.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg routinely opposes sharing his political leanings.
In recent years he has been attacked on both sides of the aisle for occupying too much of the tech industry and the market while defying regulators.