Home Budget & Tax News Facebook, Twitter in Legal Crosshairs After Biden Article Suppression

Facebook, Twitter in Legal Crosshairs After Biden Article Suppression

Social media giants Facebook and Twitter yesterday suppressed a New York Post story about a 2015 email in which Burisma executive Vadym Pozharskyi allegedly thanks Hunter Biden for setting up a meeting with his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden.

Less than year after the alleged meeting, Vice President Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire the prosecutor investigating the company, a Ukrainian energy firm.

The email and news story could influence voters because, if true, they would provide evidence of an abuse of power by Joe Biden, now running for president, when he was vice president, and contradicts Biden’s repeated claims that he never talked with his son about the latter’s controversial “overseas business dealings.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), a longtime critic of bias among internet giants such as Facebook and Twitter, sent letters to the CEOs of the two companies requesting that they testify before an upcoming Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing into “Digital Platforms and Election Interference.”

The hearing will “consider potential campaign law violations arising from your company’s decision, on October 14, 2020, to support the presidential campaign of Joe Biden by suppressing the distribution of a New York Post article entitled ‘Smoking Gun Email Reveals How Hunter Biden Introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad,’” Hawley wrote in a letter to Zuckerberg.

Hawley’s letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dempsey cited the company’s decision “to support the presidential campaign of Joe Biden by asymmetrically applying [Twitter’s] terms of service and restricting the distribution of” the New York Post article “as well as by suspending the official account of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump for discussing this story,” plus Twitter’s “decision to double down on that potential violation by, on October 15, 2020, suppressing the Post’s follow-up story.”

The New York Post story is important because of what it says about the Democrat candidate for president, which makes the internet giants’ suppression of it a potential matter of election fraud, says James Taylor, president of The Heartland Institute.

“Unfortunately, Republicans often focus on the wrong issue regarding Hunter Biden and Burisma,” Taylor said. “The issue is not what Hunter Biden did or did not do to enrich himself. The issue is not whether Hunter Biden traded in his family name and connections. The issue is not Hunter Biden at all. Nobody cares what Hunter Biden did, as he is not up for election.

“The issue is that corrupt Joe Biden abused his governmental power, authority, and discretion to enrich his son by protecting Hunter Biden’s foreign-based company from legitimate government oversight in that foreign country,” Taylor said. “Joe Biden threatened to withhold promised U.S. taxpayer foreign assistance to a vulnerable ally as a means of bullying that nation into allowing his son’s corrupt company to behave unethically and to break the law in that allied country. Joe Biden’s corrupt actions caused tremendous strain in the vital U.S.-Ukraine relationship at a time when Ukraine needed all the U.S. help it could muster in fighting off Russian aggression.

“Joe Biden sacrificed American interests and our ally’s interests merely to enrich his son and shield his son’s corrupt company from a legitimate investigation into corruption,” Taylor said. “And that is exactly why Burisma paid Hunter Biden so much money to be on its board of directors. Burisma counted on Joe Biden being corrupt enough to ride in like the cavalry, throwing around the weight of the U.S. government to protect his son’s personal business interests against any Ukrainian government investigation into the corrupt Burisma corporation.”

Suppressing such an obviously important story less than a month before an election indicates severe corruption and bias on the part of the internet giants and legacy media, says Heartland Institute Vice President Jim Lakely.

“If there was any doubt before, this is now crystal clear: Big Tech is engaged in open partisan warfare against conservatives,” Lakely said.

“No one should be surprised by this, however,” Lakely said. “The head of communications for Facebook spent the entirety of his previous career doing PR for Democrats. The top communications guy for Twitter is the former press secretary for Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris. When the Biden campaign needed them, Big Tech’s most powerful people instantly became the troubled candidate’s volunteer fire department.

“The corrupt legacy media with blue checkmarks on Twitter have worked hand-in-hand to enforce Big Tech’s blackout of news harmful to the Biden campaign,” Lakely said. “They endorsed the lie that the New York Post story was not ‘verified’ but hung on material that was ‘hacked’ or not obtained legally.”

Media bias in this election cycle is occurring on a scale that has never been attempted before, says Justin Haskins, editorial director for The Heartland Institute.

“The decisions made by Facebook and Twitter to stifle the speech of tens of millions of their own users, all in the pursuit of protecting Joe Biden, are egregious and unprecedented,” Haskins said. “This is a direct attack on the longstanding American tradition of supporting open debate, and it serves as proof that many of the largest social media companies have effectively become wings of the Democratic Party and guardians of the far Left.”

Such kid-glove treatment of the Biden campaign contrasts starkly with the way these corporations, which donate campaign money almost exclusively to Democrats, have treated Biden’s opponent, says Lakely.

“What Facebook and Twitter did yesterday is quite rich considering the way the social media giants allowed the broad distribution of one story after another about President Trump based on sketchy sources that could not be ‘fact-checked,’” Lakely said. “The Trump tax returns story of just a couple of weeks ago was based on private financial documents obtained illegally. Big Tech allowed an anonymous and incredible story about Trump calling America’s war dead in France ‘losers’ to be shared widely, and it is still being shared to this day. Myriad fake stories about ‘Russian collusion,’ which itself is a proven hoax, are still OK to share on Facebook and Twitter.”

Federal law requires Facebook, Twitter, and other such companies to be unbiased in their presentation of users’ opinions, Haskins notes.

“The only reason social media giants are allowed to exist in their current form is due to special federal protections provided under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act,” Haskins said. “Without this law, companies like Facebook and Twitter could not function. They have made billions of dollars off of unique protections offered by the CDA, and how have they repaid the American people? By silencing voices with whom they don’t agree and refusing to operate in good faith under the terms of Section 230.”

Hawley’s planned investigation into the matter would build on earlier inquiries into the social media companies’ failure to fulfill their obligation to be unbiased in return for the special legal treatment they receive, Lakely says.

“We’ve reached a point of clarity and, if there is any justice, a point of no return for Big Tech,” Lakely said. “The social media giants enjoy special protections against liability because they promise to be ‘platforms’ for free speech, not ‘publishers’ of the speech they prefer. That protection has been abused, never more clearly than in this censorship of the New York Post story and the suspension of countless accounts of people who tried to share it. Big Tech’s power must be reduced, and no regulatory option—from revocation of Section 230 protections to the application of antitrust law—can be off the table.”

Big corporations’ control of communications threatens Americans’ right to freedom of speech, Haskins says.

“Drastic action is needed to ensure more voices aren’t silenced by Big Tech,” Haskins said.” If policymakers don’t act soon, Big Tech will continue to expand its power and control over speech in the United States and around the world, stifling the speech of all those who disagree with their commitment to increasing the authority of national governments and ruling class.”

Lakely says the media giants have willingly put themselves in serious jeopardy in order to benefit their favored political candidates.

“Twitter and Facebook had to know suppressing this story under such ridiculous ‘standards’ would nuke their reputation and put at risk the Section 230 protection that makes their business model possible,” Lakely said. “They clearly decided that protecting Joe Biden was worth it.”

S. T. Karnick
S.T. Karnick is the director of publications, a research fellow for The Heartland Institute, and the managing editor of Budget & Tax News.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The UN’s “Verified” campaign sends out daily briefings to their “digital first responders” (fact checkers) all over the world. The “Pause before sharing” campaign to censor C-virus information that doesn’t come from the corrupt WHO, I believe started with Trump’s tweet about mail in voting. In their world, this would be a byproduct of the virus.

    I also believe they will use this same censoring if the vaccines the U.S. are working on develop faster than the WHO/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation COVAX program. They are using the ACT accelerator to match Trump’s warp speed program and are extremely irritated that the U.S. is not funding their program. Also excited that China just signed on to COVAX – which begs a lot of questions.

    I don’t think it was a mistake that both Biden and Harris spoke negatively about “Trump’s vaccine”. It is a conundrum as Gates worries about anti-vaxers so demonizing Trump initiated vaccines is a double edged sword and why they are circumventing the system to make private business require this vaccine such as airlines. The global elite’s involvement in any vaccine is what scares me.

  2. “Federal law requires Facebook, Twitter, and other such companies to be unbiased in their presentation of users’ opinions, Haskins notes.”

    Which statute says that

  3. Thanks for your comment, JLSeagull. I am loath to have the federal government impose “fairness” on media organizations. I do not consider it constitutional or wise. The key here is that the government is preventing private individuals from holding social media and other internet communication firms accountable for their actions. That should be remedied, and establishing that Section 230 does not apply to those that exercise editorial control over content would help do so.

  4. Thank you for your comment, Epsteins Mother. Haskins is referring to section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

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