This is the moment that many First Amendment advocates feared, as a private technological company begins to selectively throttle journalists ahead of an important American election.
There are only three weeks left until the American people cast their votes, either for incumbent President Donald Trump, or challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden. As with any hotly contested election in America, there are bound to be a number of “October Surprises”, meant to tear politically-galvanized voters away from their chosen candidate in dramatic fashion.
The first major October Surprise of 2020 arrived on Wednesday, as a series of emails published by the NY Post indicated that Joe Biden had met with higher-ups at Burisma, the Ukrainian natural gas company that his son Hunter Biden is involved with as a member of their board of directors.
The news is noteworthy on account of the fact that the elder Biden had repeatedly and consistently claimed that he had never ever spoken to his son about his foreign business deals, hoping to avoid claims of nepotism or political influence.
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Facebook is now openly admitting that they are reducing the distribution of the story on their platform.
Facebook said it would rely on its fact-checking partners to determine the story’s legitimacy, but until then, it is taking steps to tamp down on its spread.
“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,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted Wednesday. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”
Donald Trump Jr. was enraged at the news, taking to social media to claim that Facebook was engaging in “election meddling”.
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THIS IS ELECTION INTERFERENCE! Are you kidding me? After all the lies that they pushed about us and Russia collusion for years… now there’s credible evidence against the Bidens and they eliminated on their platform? Give me a break big tech has way too much power and it needs to be stopped? Joe said he never met these people and here’s an email refuting then why don’t they actually fat check in rather than just taking it off their platform. They know it will hurt Biden so they will do what they can to cover it up, that’s what they do.
Twitter users, on the other hand, were busy claiming that the emails in question were forgeries provided to the NY Post by Rudy Giuliani.
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