Trump, Republicans slam Twitter, Facebook 'blackout' of Hunter Biden article

October 15, 2020 

President Trump and Republicans blasted Facebook and Twitter for suppressing the social media circulation of a New York Post story on Hunter Biden's emails, with Trump calling for a federal clamp down on the tech giants.

"So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of "Smoking Gun" emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the [New York Post]," Trump tweeted. "It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!"

Trump was referencing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that states "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."


The section has been pivotal in the rise of today's social media giants by allowing not only Internet service providers -- but also Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and others -- to be shielded from liability from content posted on their platforms by third parties, in most cases. But some critics on the right feel that tech giants should no longer benefit from protections of Section 230 if they censor conservative viewpoints, including controversial postings by Trump.

On Wednesday night, Twitter sent a series of tweets clarifying why the New York Post articles were in violation.

The hacked materials are in violation of the company's 2018 policy against the distribution of such materials on its platform, however conversations about those materials are not:

"Commentary on or discussion about hacked materials, such as articles that cover them but do not include or link to the materials themselves, aren't a violation of this policy," Twitter said. "Our policy only covers links to or images of hacked material themselves."

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also shared the update and said the company had not done a good enough job of communicating why it took the actions it did.

Also Wednesday, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., sent off a letter to Facebook and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, immediately penned a letter to Twitter -- each calling for the tech companies to explain censorship of the New York Post article on emails that purport to link former vice president Joe Biden to Hunter's business interests in Ukraine.

"If these emails are authentic, they would demonstrate definitively that now-candidate Biden lied when he said in 2016 that he had 'never spoken to [his] son about his overseas business dealings," Cruz wrote in a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.


"Twitter has apparently decided to preemptively censor this report," Cruz continued. "Twitter is not only prohibiting users from sharing this story on their own accounts, it is prohibiting the New York Post itself from posting its own content."

Hawley also requested a formal investigation from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) into possible campaign finance violations, charging that Twitter and Facebook have essentially contributed to the Biden campaign by suppressing a negative story from being circulated.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., accused Facebook and Twitter of meddling in the presidential election.

"Big Tech is trying to steal the election," Gaetz tweeted.

The New York Post released emails that allegedly reveal that Hunter introduced his father, the Democratic presidential nominee, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings at Hunter's request. The article said that the elder Biden met with Vadym Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Twitter responded by locking the New York Post's Twitter account as of 2:20 pm. saying the paper's messages obtained from Hunter Biden's laptop broke the social network's rules against the "distribution of hacked material," Twitter wrote to the Post. Twitter also blocked users from sharing the link to the New York Post article.

Meanwhile, Facebook said it was "reducing" the article distribution on its platform.

"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."

GOP lawmakers have accused Big Tech of hypocrisy.


"Four years ago BuzzFeed posted the Steele Dossier, filled with lies and misinformation, and twitter and Facebook happily spread their fake news," Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said of the anti-President Trump document. "Now these platforms are blocking transmission of a New York Post story critical of a Democrat. The hypocrisy is not sustainable."

The Biden campaign said the former vice president engaged in "no wrongdoing."


"Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as 'not legitimate' and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing," Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said. "Trump Administration officials have attested to these facts under oath."

Fox News' Brian Flood and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Latest News

October 26, 2020
AOC tells Jane Fonda being Trump’s ‘public enemy No. 1’ is a good thing

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez considers herself “public enemy No. 1” in the eyes of President Trump. The Bronx-born congresswoman told actress Jane Fonda that Trump’s disdain for her is a good thing during an interview for “Fire Drill Fridays” last week. “If the worst and most authoritarian, borderline — or probably, actually — fascistic president in […]

Read More
October 26, 2020
Las Vegas dad allegedly kills infant daughter by tossing her off apartment balcony

A Las Vegas father was arrested for allegedly throwing his 2-month-old daughter from a second-floor apartment balcony on Saturday morning, resulting in the tot’s death, police said. The suspect, identified as 32-year-old Clarence Martin Jr., is also accused of setting the apartment on fire after getting into a feud with his girlfriend — the infant’s […]

Read More
October 26, 2020
Homeless man accused of intentionally setting NJ fire that killed two people

A homeless man was charged for allegedly setting fire to a New Jersey apartment building that left two people dead and nine injured, authorities announced Sunday. Brandon Adams, 34, is accused of intentionally igniting the early Sunday morning fire in Camden, the county prosecutor’s office said. Authorities drew that conclusion “based in part on assistance […]

Read More
October 26, 2020
Biden Pledges Ambitious Climate Action. Here’s What He Could Actually Do.

WASHINGTON — Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s $2 trillion plan to fight global warming is the most ambitious climate policy proposed by a leading presidential candidate, a political lightning rod spotlighted on Thursday night when the Democratic nominee acknowledged during a debate that it would “transition” the country “from the oil industry.” But no one knows […]

Read More
October 26, 2020
New Mexico lawmaker flees home after threats over social distancing

A New Mexico state Senator fled his home Sunday after receiving multiple intimidating voicemail messages over the weekend, saying the threats were connected to his recent criticisms of a local protest against COVID-19 restrictions where many attendees were not wearing masks or social distancing. Jacob Candelaria received the messages, which included homophobic slurs against the […]

Read More
October 26, 2020
Live Updates: Senate expected to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court

The Senate is set to vote Monday evening to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the United States Supreme Court. On Sunday, Senate Republicans voted 51-48 to limit debate on the Supreme Court nomination of Barrett, setting up a vote on her confirmation for Monday evening. Previously, Supreme Court justices needed to clear a 60-vote […]

Read More