Facebook and Twitter censor potentially damning story about Joe Biden and corruption
This was a reeeaally stoopid effort. See: "Streisand Effect"
[Wash Examiner] Social media executives are about to discover the Streisand effect.
Facebook has restricted its users' ability to share a potentially damning news report about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Twitter has taken similar actions to limit the story's distribution.
"Given the lack of authoritative reporting on the origins of the materials included in the article, we’re taking action to limit the spread of this information," a Twitter spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.
The New York Post published an an article Wednesday morning purporting to show that Hunter Biden introduced his father, then the vice president, "to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company."
Roughly six hours after the report went live, Facebook's policy communications director, Andy Stone, confirmed the story is being suppressed on the popular social media platform pending a fact-check.
"While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post," said Stone, "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."
He added, linking to a Facebook FAQ from 2019, "This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation. We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review."
Not long after Stone’s announcement, Twitter took similar action, making it impossible to share the New York Post article on its platform.
A Twitter spokesperson called attention to its "Hacked Material Policy," which states, "We don’t permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets."
Moreover, the spokesperson told the Washington Examiner, "This enforcement action is in line with our guidance on blocking links, specifically, ’At times, Twitter will take action to limit or prevent the spread of URL links to content outside Twitter. This is done by displaying a warning notice when the link is clicked, or by blocking the link so that it can’t be Tweeted at all.'"
Attempts to share the New York Post article on Twitter produce an error message that reads, "We can't complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more."
Even New York Post staffers are unable to share the story on Twitter.
"This is a Big Tech information coup," said opinion editor Sohrab Ahmari. "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."
Links posted to Twitter before the report was targeted for censorship are also compromised. Instead of taking users directly to the New York Post’s website, the links direct them first to a page that declares, "Warning: this link may be unsafe."
The warning page adds, "The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially spammy or unsafe, in accordance with Twitter’s URL Policy."
The New York Post report cannot even be shared privately via Twitter's direct messages function.
If the idea here was to limit the number of people who see the New York Post article, Facebook and Twitter likely just accomplished the opposite. Nothing makes people want to look more than being told they are not supposed to.
Twitter Chief Jack Dorsey
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Posted by: Frank G 2020-10-15