Controversy Widens Over NY Post Story on Bidens

Senate panel plans to subpoena Twitter CEO over restrictions on story
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2020 1:38 PM CDT
Senate Panel to Subpoena Twitter CEO Over Biden Story
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)

The controversy over a New York Post story about Joe and Hunter Biden is apparently not going to fade quickly. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote next week to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey over the site's decision to restrict tweets and retweets about the story, reports the Hill. Republicans including Ted Cruz call it censorship and evidence of a bias against the right. Critics of the story say it's filled with misinformation and timed to sway voters before the election. Coverage:

  • The story: Read it at the New York Post here. It's one of multiple stories by the outlet on the topic.
  • Key allegation: The story alleges that Hunter Biden introduced his father, then the vice president, to an executive with the Ukraine energy firm Burisma. (It's all part of this previous controversy.) The story includes an email purportedly sent by the exec: "Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure." The wording itself makes it unclear whether any such meeting happened, notes the AP, and Biden's campaign says it never did. And whether the email is legit is a whole other question also under scrutiny.

  • Restricted: Both Twitter and Facebook restricted the story's spread. Dorsey later tweeted a clarification: "Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great," he wrote. "And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable." Twitter then added context in a thread, including that the story violated its "hacked materials policy." Facebook, for its part, said the story was being restricted so it could be vetted by independent fact-checkers, a step it took after receiving "signals" the story was false, per the Washington Post.
  • Tech shop owner: The New York Post says it obtained a hard drive from Rudy Guiliani that came from a laptop dropped off at a computer repair shop in Delaware. The owner of that shop is legally blind and thus "can't be 100% sure" it was Hunter Biden who dropped off the laptop, but he thinks it was. The owner has been identified by some outlets, including the Daily Beast, which has an interview. The DB accuses the man of not keeping his story straight about the particulars of what happened.
  • Critics: President Trump tweeted that it was "terrible" the social media sites "took down the story of 'Smoking Gun' emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter." And the Guardian notes that even non-conservatives criticized the move, as seen in this tweet by Sam Biddle: "hard to imagine a better gift to the trump campaign and the entire GOP than this decision by twitter."
  • A Q&A: Yes, this is a "tangled" saga, as the AP puts it. But the outlet has a question-and-answer file covering the basics here.
(More Twitter stories.)

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