Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley is demanding Facebook explain its preemptive censorship of a bombshell report from the New York Post contradicting Joe Biden’s repeated assertions that the former vice president never discussed his son’s potentially criminal overseas business conduct.
Emails published by the New York Post Wednesday morning show that contrary to Joe Biden’s claims that he never talked business with his son, Hunter Biden, “or with anyone else,” the vice president at the time was indeed introduced to Ukrainian Burisma advisor Vadym Pozharskyi by Hunter. Hunter Biden was raking in upwards of $50,000 a month in excess compensation for serving on the board of Burisma while his father served as the “public face” of the Obama administration’s policy towards Ukraine.
Hours after the story’s publication, Facebook accompanied the mainstream media’s blind eye to the new revelations by announcing it would preemptively censor the paper’s reporting.
“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,” wrote Facebook spokesperson and former Democratic staffer Andy Stone. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our 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. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2020
Hawley followed through on a threat posted on Twitter shortly after Facebook’s announcement to send an official Senate inquiry to the company demanding that it explain what grounds it has for its censorship.
.@Facebook I want to know on what grounds you are actively censoring a news report about potentially illegal corruption by the Democrat candidate for president. If you have evidence this is “disinformation,” disclose it immediately. Expect a formal inquiry from my office
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 14, 2020
“The seemingly selective nature of this public intervention suggests partiality on the part of Facebook,” Hawley wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “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 is specifically demanding to know the details of the company’s policy in reducing the distribution of stories before being subject to scrutiny by its fact-checkers, in addition to requesting what evidence it has that the Post’s piece contains “disinformation.” Hawley has also demanded to know whether the company colluded with the Biden-Harris campaign, and why it decided to make a public declaration that the story is undergoing fact-checker scrutiny.
“Isn’t such a public intervention itself a reflection of Facebook’s assessment of a news report’s credibility?” Hawley asked.
Finally, Hawley wrote, “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. What steps has Facebook taken to ensure that your employees’ political preferences don’t influence decisions to suppress content?”