Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter to the CEO of Facebook on Wednesday, Oct. 14, questioning the company for publicly stating that it was limiting the circulation of the story on its platform to “reduce the spread of misinformation,” the Daily Caller reported.
The New York Post published an explosive story Wednesday about the corruption of Democratic Party presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son Hunter, and immediately both Facebook and Twitter limited circulation on their platforms of the story, claiming that the company was checking with fact checkers that it did not have disinformation.
Andy Stone, a spokesman for Facebook, made the announcement on his Twitter account.
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
The New York Post story implicates former Vice President Biden in a potential corruption case for using his position as a government official to make money for his son from a Ukrainian gas company when Joe Biden was managing international relations between the United States and Ukraine.
Joe Biden himself repeatedly denied knowing about his son’s business, but the Post’s history suggests otherwise.
The fact that Facebook decided to limit the circulation of the news and assumed that it contained disinformation before it was even reviewed is seen as an attempt to protect the reputation of the Democratic candidate ahead of the Nov. 3 election.
Hawley, who has been very active in his efforts to stop censorship on social networks, immediately got involved and sent a letter questioning Facebook’s decision to censor the New York newspaper story.
“The seemingly selective nature of this public intervention suggests partiality on the part of Facebook. And your efforts to suppress the distribution of content revealing potentially unethical activity by a candidate for president raises a number of additional questions, to which I expect responses immediately,” Hawley wrote in his letter.
Hawley challenged Facebook with a series of questions in which he asks why the company censors the news without first reviewing it, and why it assumes that the news contains “misinformation.” He also asks Zuckerberg to clarify what the policy is and where it is specified, authorizing him to carry out such censorship.
Hawley ended his letter by trying to clear up doubts that Facebook has no ulterior motives in making this decision.
“The New York Post previously reported that employees of the six largest Silicon Valley tech firms—including Facebook—have donated nearly $5 million to the Biden-Harris campaign, compared to just $239,000 to President Trump’s campaign,” Hawley wrote.
And then he asked insightfully, “What steps has Facebook taken to ensure that your employees’ political preferences don’t influence decisions to suppress content?”
If the information published in the New York Post story, which has now been republished by the mainstream conservative media, were confirmed factual, it could deal a major blow to the already weakened credibility of the Democratic candidate and perhaps also cost him the election.