Social media giants Facebook and Twitter limited the sharing of a dubious article in a US street paper about Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential candidate, today. A Facebook spokesman says the media is slowing down the distribution of news while fact-makers assess its veracity.
The article in question appeared in the New York Post, a street newspaper owned by Australian billionaire Rupert Murdoch. It quotes an e-mail from 2015 that is supposed to be from Hunter Biden, the presidential candidate’s son, and the paper says it shows that he introduced the Ukrainian manager of an energy company to his father when he was vice president of the United States.
The paper claims that it refutes Biden’s claims that he never spoke to his son about his activities in Ukraine at the time when the vice president pursued the US administration’s policy towards Eastern Europe.
However, it is not confirmed in the news that the mail actually came from Hunter Biden or that Biden Sr. had ever met the Ukrainian entrepreneur. Nor is anything stated about the nature of such a meeting, its duration, or whether it would have been illegal. A spokesman for Biden’s candidacy told Politico today that the then the vice – president’s agenda showed that no such meeting had taken place.
However, that did not stop the news from being brutally shared on Facebook today. Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, says the distribution of the news will be reduced while external fact-watchers review its content.
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 completely stopped the distribution of the news and referred to the ban on the use of the medium to distribute content obtained from hacking. The media banned the distribution of documents leaked from US law enforcement agencies on the same grounds this summer, according to The Verge.
Trump’s candidacy responded by tweeting out all the text of the news in a series of tweets.
Twitter has blocked users from tweeting the New York Post story link and from sending the link via direct message to other users.
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) October 14, 2020
Nothing criminal was found in Biden’s relations with Ukraine
The New York Post reported that Biden had allowed his son to benefit from being vice president in the context of a long-running conspiracy theory that US President Donald Trump and the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had long sought to maintain and created. that Trump was charged with misconduct in the US Congress. Giuliani and Steven Bannon, Trump’s former chief adviser, provided the paper with the data.
The paper says that after the meeting, which did not prove that Biden had, with the director of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, the vice president pushed for Viktor Sjokín, the prosecutor who investigated Burisma, to be fired. At the same time, Hunter Biden was in charge of Burisma. Trump and Giuliani have claimed that Biden acted in favor of his son but have not provided any evidence or justification for those allegations.
It has been repeatedly pointed out that Biden followed the US government’s policy and other Western countries that considered the prosecutor corrupt. Burisma was among the companies that the prosecutor was said to have dragged his feet to investigate due to possible corruption. Thus, Burisma was more likely to fall under the prosecutor’s microscope due to Biden’s actions than the other.
The US House of Representatives accused Trump of misconduct when she accused the president of abusing her power by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden for much of last year. The president conditioned military aid and a White House meeting on Zelensky’s political favor. A U.S. Senate Senate Homeland Security inquiry led by Republican Ron Johnson did not reveal any evidence that Biden had done anything criminal or let other motives guide the US government’s policy in its relations with the Ukrainian government.
However, the committee criticized Hunter Biden for using his father’s fame to reach lucrative business deals around the world, including with Burisma in Ukraine, in a report published last month.
A strange account of the alleged origin of the documents
Journalists from other media have posted a big question mark over the reliability of the New York Post. This is the story of how Giuliani allegedly came across Hunter Biden’s email with considerable controversy.
1. I'm going to go through a few issues with the NY Post article on Biden, which I won't link to, but you will probably see on Twitter today.
Follow along if interested.
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 14, 2020
The owner of a computer workshop received a laptop for repair from an unknown man in Delaware in April last year. He is said to have concluded that the computer was owned by Hunter Biden because it had a sticker with the name of a fund set up in memory of Beu Biden, his brother.
The computer was never downloaded and the workshop owner found emails and pictures of Hunter Biden. Before handing over the computer to the FBI, he copied the data and gave it to Giuliani’s lawyer for unclear reasons. It was not stated what interest the FBI should have in the data.
Bannon, who was charged with embezzlement in August, told the New York Post about the existence of the data several months later, and Giuliani then handed over a hard drive from the computer a week ago.
Trump and Giuliani’s allegations against Biden have been mixed with a conspiracy theory that it was in fact the Ukrainian government, not the Russian, that tried to influence the 2016 US presidential election, contrary to the decisive conclusion of US intelligence agencies. The conspiracy theory itself is believed to have its roots in Russian information warfare. The US Secret Service believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered measures to help Trump win, including the theft and leaking of Democrats’ emails.
Giuliani has been working for months with Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkatsj to defend the allegations against Biden. US Treasury Department recently put Derkach on the penalty list and accused him of being an active envoy of the Russian government who tried to influence the presidential election this autumn, among other things by publishing unsubstantiated allegations and audio recordings that had been misleadingly cut.
A break-in took place in Burisma’s computer system last year and there have been allegations that the Russian military service GRU was responsible for the burglary.