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Facebook Slows Spread of NY Post Biden Story to Fact-Check

Facebook Slows Spread of NY Post Biden Story to Fact-Check
(AP)

Wednesday, 14 October 2020 04:15 PM

Facebook Inc. said it will reduce distribution of a story from the New York Post about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, seeking to slow the pace of its spread before the social network’s fact-checkers have a chance to evaluate its authenticity.

Twitter Inc. is also warning users before they read the article. While tweets that include the link don’t have any kind of warning, users who click on the story are brought to a landing page that says “this link may be unsafe.” Twitter blocks links that could “mislead people,” among other things, according to the company’s policy.

The Post story Wednesday said emails purportedly from Hunter Biden show he introduced his father, then-Vice President Biden, to an executive at a Ukrainian energy firm. The paper claims the communication contradicts an assertion by Joe Biden that he hasn’t spoken to his son about his business dealings. But the email doesn’t detail the extent of the meeting or whether Biden spoke to his son about it. It also doesn’t say definitively whether Biden actually met the executive.

Facebook is limiting distribution of the story on its social network, spokesman Andy Stone said on Twitter without linking to the piece directly. That’s a step Facebook says it takes if it has received signals that a story is false, but the piece hasn’t yet been reviewed by third-party fact-checking partners.

A Twitter spokeswoman said, “In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to, or images of, the material in question on Twitter.”

The Post’s story said the emails came from data recovered from an abandoned laptop at a repair shop near Delaware in April 2019, according to the shop owner. A purported email from April 17, 2015, shows the Ukrainian energy executive thanking Hunter for the introduction. Bloomberg News hasn’t independently verified the authenticity of the purported emails.

The Post reported that it obtained the emails from Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, whose attempts to obtain disparaging information on Biden from Ukrainian officials last year contributed to Trump’s impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives. In September, the Treasury Department sanctioned one of the Ukrainians that Giuliani met with, calling him a Russian agent who is trying to interfere in the 2020 election.

Facebook executives have told reporters in recent months that they are worried about “hack and leak” campaigns before the Nov. 3 election, in which hackers release damaging documents about a particular candidate right before the vote. The company does not allow users to post material obtained by a hack on the service.

The Biden campaign said the Post never asked for comment on the story. “Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place,” campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said.

The Trump campaign has already attempted to use Facebook’s reduced distribution of the story as evidence for claims of anti-conservative bias. “Silicon Valley leftists are now openly bragging about interfering with the election,” the campaign said in an email to supporters, calling out Facebook spokesman Stone by name.

© Copyright 2020 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


   
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Facebook Inc. said it will reduce distribution of a story from the New York Post about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, seeking to slow the pace of its spread before the social network's fact-checkers have a chance to evaluate its authenticity.
facebook, twitter, newyorkpost
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2020-15-14
Wednesday, 14 October 2020 04:15 PM
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