Facebook, Twitter limit reach of New York Post article about Hunter Biden


Facebook and Twitter are limiting the reach of a New York Post article.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Facebook and Twitter are limiting the reach of a New York Post article that alleges leaked emails show Joe Biden’s son introduced the Democratic presidential nominee to a Ukrainian energy executive, raising questions about how social networks fact-check political content.

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, said in a tweet the Wednesday article is eligible for fact-checking by the social network’s third-party partners though he didn’t indicate what prompted the review. The social network is “reducing its distribution” in the meantime. 

Facebook’s and Twitter’s actions drew criticism from Republicans and the Trump campaign, which accused the social networks of interfering in the coming election. Conservatives have long alleged that their speech is censored by Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites, a charge the companies have repeatedly denied. In May, Trump signed an executive order that aims to curtail legal protections that shield online platforms from liability for content posted by their users.

Twitter said that it’s blocking any links or images of the New York Post story. The company cited its policies against the distribution of hacked materials. Social media sites are worried about disinformation campaigns in which hackers release documents as part of an attempt to meddle in the Nov. 3 election. 

Facebook exempts politicians from its fact-checking program, but works with partners to limit the spread of false news and viral misinformation such as memes and manipulated videos. If something is rated as false or altered, Facebook tries to reduce the number of people who see it on the platform. It’ll also apply a label to posts that’ve been reviewed by fact-checkers, directing people to additional context.

Facebook has also said that in the US and many countries, it will temporarily reduce a post’s distribution while it’s being reviewed by a fact-checker if there are “signals that a piece of content is false.” This is part of the company’s effort to stop misinformation from going viral more quickly. In September, Facebook reduced the spread of posts that falsely claimed that Biden had worn an earpiece during debates while it was pending review by fact-checkers. 

Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, took issue with Facebook’s decision to reduce the spread of story before the fact-checking process had been completed.

“Is it your normal policy to reduce the distribution of stories on your platform before they have been fact-checked?,” Hawley asked in a letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “If so, what is your specific policy and where is such policy stated?”

He also criticized Twitter’s actions in another tweet. “You almost get the idea #bigtech wants to buy this election,” he said.

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for additional comment. Stone said in a tweet that Facebook’s actions is part of the company’s “standard process” to reduce the spread of misinformation. The Biden campaign directed CNET to Andrew Bates, director of rapid response for the campaign. Bates shared a tweet in which he denied that a meeting between Biden and the Ukrainian executive ever took place. The New York Post didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The name of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and the New York Post trended on Twitter on Wednesday morning, along with other terms related to the article. 

The New York Post article has already been shared on Facebook more than 50,000 times, according Facebook-owned analytics tool CrowdTangle. 

Now playing:
Watch this:

Facebook spells out election guidelines, Google gives…


Source Article