On Wednesday, Twitter and Facebook conducted unprecedented censorship by blocking all sharing of links and reducing the reach of an explosive New York Post article revealing that Joe Biden met with a top executive of the Ukrainian Burisma energy company despite formerly denying he ever did so. According to emails obtained by the paper, the meeting was arranged by Hunter Biden, who worked as a lobbyist for the company.
Republicans are now calling for Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress over their actions, including Senator Josh Hawley, who wrote on Twitter, “40 percent of Americans get their news primarily from @Facebook. Their active censorship of @nypost is an attempt to control the news. I will offer a motion to subpoena @Facebook to answer for this censorship.”
The move by the tech giants was met with outrage, with both companies effectively blocking journalism from one the largest journalistic publications in the United States in what appears to be a brazen attempt to influence the 2020 elections and reduce the free flow of information.
CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey has admitted that Twitter’s communication on blocking the story was not “great” but the platform is still blocking the story and banning users for sharing it.
Your “communication” is not the problem. The problem is your totalitarian censorship, your election interference, and the fact that you allow genocidal terrorists to threaten Jews while banning elected U.S. officials from sharing American journalism. https://t.co/F0CrgP6GP7
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 15, 2020
At the core of The New York Post story are emails from Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Back in the autumn of 2019, Joe Biden denied ever talking to his son Hunter Biden about his work as a lobbyist for the Burisma company, which paid Hunter about $50,000 a month for his work.
One of the emails published by The New York Post, however, does mention a meeting between Joe Biden and Vadym Pozharskyi, a top executive at Burisma.
“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to D.C. and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spend some time together. It’s really an honor and pleasure,” the email reads.
The message dates back to April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter started working for the company. In an earlier email from May 2014, Pozharskyi asks Hunter for advice on how to use “his influence” for the company’s advantage.
The images contained in the articles include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules.https://t.co/plPa5SZ3we
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 14, 2020
Less than eight months after the correspondence, Joe Biden, then vice president of the United States, pressured the Ukrainian government to fire Attorney General Viktor Shokin, threatening to withhold a $1 billion loan.
“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money. Well, son of a bitch. He got fired,” said Joe Biden about the incident in 2018, with his boast famously caught on video.
Tucker Carlson & @esaagar Discuss The Future Of Big Tech Censorship
Tucker: “Soon we’re going to do a show where we just read the names of all the Republicans…who refused to lift a finger to save you from what you correctly described as this grave moment in American history.” pic.twitter.com/wOzDeFEDWH
— The Columbia Bugle ?? (@ColumbiaBugle) October 15, 2020
According to Hunter Biden, Shokin was forced out of his position because he was suspected of corruption. Shokin himself claimed that he made “specific plans” to investigate Burisma that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”
The emails were apparently salvaged from a laptop provided to a computer shop repairman who, after the owner of the laptops did not pick them up for 90 days, obtained the data and provided it to both the FBI and former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani. The emails are also in possession of the US House Committee on Homeland Security. Twitter said that the emails were obtained “without authorization” but as many are pointing out, Trump’s tax returns were also illegally obtained, yet stories about them were able to trend on Twitter for days.
"obtained without authorization"
Trump's tax records were given to The New York Times "without authorization" and Twitter made sure that it was the top trending story for days https://t.co/9pJIfzvwSh
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) October 15, 2020
The fact that social media companies Facebook and Twitter blocked the spread of the story is almost as explosive as the revelations themselves, especially given the presidential elections campaign being in the full swing. Republican lawmakers, many who tried to share the New York Post story, reacted with outrage over the two companies’ actions.
The Republican House Judiciary Twitter account has also been censored for sharing a press release containing the story.
Senator Josh Hawley Users slammed the companies in a letter, writing directly to Mark Zuckerberg that his actions amounted to election interference on behalf of the Democratic Party.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 14, 2020
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone, a former Democratic Party employee, announced that the spread of the story would be blocked until it was verified by fact-checkers.
While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, 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.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020
Twitter also censored all links to the article on its platform and prevented people from posting new links to the story. Several right-wing commentators experienced the censorship firsthand and saw their tweets being blocked.
19 days out from the election. pic.twitter.com/Z9FFzridyr
— Mike Hahn (@mikehahn_) October 15, 2020
More stories are expected to be published on the e-mails before the election. According to the New York Post, data from the laptop also included a 12-minute sex tape of Hunter Biden, in which he appears to be smoking crack-cocaine.
Title image: Family members gather for a road naming ceremony with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, centre, his son Hunter Biden, left, and his sister Valerie Biden Owens, right, joined by other family members during a ceremony to name a national road after his late son Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III, in the village of Sojevo, Kosovo, on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016. President Joe Biden is the guest of honor during the street dedication ceremony naming the national road Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III.AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)