Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are ensuring that no content is published that can potentially disrupt the political climate in the country ahead of the presidential election. On Wednesday, the afore-mentioned social behemoths took stringent actions to limit the sharing of New York Post that wrote an article about Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
The news article contained alleged details of Biden’s son’s involvement with a Ukrainian energy company. It also said that Joe Biden had met earlier with the advisor of the company. According to the news outlet, the information was given to them by Trump former adviser Steve Bannon and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Just after few hours, Facebook reduced the reach of the article link in the feed while Twitter prohibited the users to post the links on their story. In response to this, the New York Post said that “Facebook and Twitter are not media platforms. They’re propaganda machines.”
President Trump who’s in the race for the U.S. presidential election said that it was “terrible’’ that two of these platforms have taken down the story of “Smoking Gun”. Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign spokesperson Andrew Bates issued a statement that earlier Republican-led Senate committees have already concluded that Biden is involved in no wrongdoing related to the Ukraine matter. “The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story,” Bates said. “We have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place,” he added.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said in a tweet that “Our communications around our action on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable. Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone wrote that ‘This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.” Recently, Twitter has started warning users to share the content without clicking on it for further context. The platform locked the account of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing the New York Post article. Earlier, Twitter had blocked Trump’s campaign for sharing false COVID-19 information.
The article has been heavily shared on both platforms while it has already become a trending topic on Twitter. Various Republicans accused the platforms of influencing the presidential election. For instance, Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, said that his office has a written letter to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s CEO about the matter. Josh Hawley, another Republican, also said “Next week when the full Senate returns we should VOTE on my bill allowing Americans to sue #BigTech for censorship & unfair treatment.
Besides the New York Post’s controversial article matter, Facebook recently said that it’s finally starting to ban anti-vax ads on its platforms. Last year, the company had tried to reduce the reach but it failed in removing the paid ads from anti-vax groups. Meanwhile, Twitter was asked to pay USD 100,000 to Washington’s Public Disclosure Transparency Account after failing to retain the required records about political ads campaigns that ran over a period of seven years.