Facebook is intentionally limiting the distribution of a New York Post story involving Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.
“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,” tweeted Andy Stone, Facebook spokesperson. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
Mr. Stone did not respond to questions about how it would restrict the visibility of the story and whether Facebook users’ sharing the story would be made aware of the company’s action against their accounts.
The story that Facebook deemed offensive includes an email published by the New York Post that casts doubt upon the Democratic presidential nominee’s repeated claims that he did not have knowledge of his son’s business dealings in places such as Ukraine, Russia and China.
Facebook’s decision to stop the spread of the New York Post’s reporting without explanation rankled lawmakers and government officials that view the company’s action as tantamount to election interference and censorship.
“A healthy democracy depends on the free flow of ideas,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican, in response to Mr. Stone. “Tech giants openly admit to suffocating a story that isn’t helpful to their chosen political candidate. Unacceptable and un-American.”
Mr. Stone’s previous partisan work for Democrats, including former Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, attracted speculation that he had a malicious motivation to thwart bad news for the Biden campaign from being widely read.
“Democrat at @Facebook manipulates the news,” tweeted Richard Grenell, former acting Director of National Intelligence. “Where is Congress!?”
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee intends to investigate the material at issue in the New York Post’s article, according to reports.
Nearly two hours after announcing Facebook’s restrictions on the story, Mr. Stone sought to justify his company’s actions as not out of the norm for the Big Tech social media platform.
“This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation,” Mr. Stone tweeted. “We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review.”
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