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Former British Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg was involved in Facebook's decision to 'reduce the distribution' of a New York Post Joe Biden story, reports suggest

by Sadie Bodenwieser (2021-01-14)


Former British Deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg was involved in Facebook's decision to 'reduce the distribution' of a New York Post Joe Biden story, reports suggest. 

The social media firm was accused of 'acting as Joe Biden's PR team' by top Republicans for hushing up the story just days before the US election on November 3.

Sir Nick, who left the UK government in 2015, is now the vice-president of global affairs and communications at the social media giant.

The Post story alleges that Biden met with a Ukrainian businessman in 2015 - when the businessman was paying his son Hunter $50,000-a-month. 

Months later, Biden - then the US Vice President - pressured Ukrainian officials into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the businessman, it claims.

Facebook announced on Wednesday that it had started 'reducing distribution' of the New York Post's story until their army of third-party 'fact checkers' had vetted it. 

Nick Clegg was involved in Facebook's decision to 'reduce the distribution' of a New York Post Joe Biden, reports suggest

Hunter and Joe Biden. The Post story suggests that Joe, while VP, had a meeting with a Ukrainian businessman after being introduced to him by Hunter, eight months before pressuring Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was investigating the businessman

Most of Facebook's decisions are made by automatic software - or by moderation staff,  reports.

But, for sensitive moderation issues that hold cultural or political significance, Facebook's vice-president of content policy, vice-president of global public policy and then Sir Nick look into the case as it passes up a chain.

Only the most high-profile cases will hit Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg's desks.

It is not known who had the final say in the distribution of the Joe Biden story and Facebook declined to comment to the newspaper. 

On Thursday, Twitter locked the account of Trump's re-election campaign for posting the Joe Biden Ukraine story - after shutting down the White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany's account over the same thing.

Conservatives on Thursday said the extraordinary move - taken just 19 days before the election - gives Biden's campaign an unfair advantage.

On Wednesday night, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had her account locked over the same thing. 

Trump has now threatened to revoke Twitter and Facebook's Section 230 protections - which shield them from being sued over content posted on their platforms.  

The Team Trump Twitter has now been locked for posting the New York Post story about Joe and Hunter Biden 19 days before the election 

Since announcing it started 'reducing distribution' of the story, Facebook hasn't given any information about why it took the step, who the fact checkers are or when they will allow it to be shared again. 

Twitter followed them, blocking people from posting links to the article online.

On Wednesday night, CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for the opaqueness of the decision and said it was 'unacceptable' that the company didn't explain themselves sooner. 

He stood by blocking it, claiming the article contains 'private information' which breaches Twitter's policies. 

The story alleges that Biden met with a Ukrainian businessman in 2015 when the businessman was paying his son Hunter $50,000-a-month.

Months later, Biden - then the Vice President - pressured Ukrainian officials into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the businessman. 

Neither Joe nor Hunter has denied the story outright. Now, many are accusing the two tech companies of playing favorites because no anti-Trump story by a legitimate news organization has ever faced such tough restrictions.   

In his apology, Dorsey said there had been a lack of communication surrounding Twitter's decision which was 'unacceptable' but he stands by the decision to block it.  

'Our communication around our actions on the NYPost article was not great.

And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we're blocking: unacceptable,' he said. 

He then linked to a statement from the company that said it was restricting the link because 'personal and private information' had been shared in the story. 

The Post story says that the former Vice President met with Ukrainian businessman Vadym Pozharskyi, as associate of his son Hunter, months before Biden would pressure Ukrainian officials to fire a prosecutor who was investigating Pozharskyi's firm.  

Facebook and Twitter were accused of 'election interference' for throttling the article. 

Facebook claimed it needed to be independently verified by fact-checkers before it could be shared on their platforms. 

Twitter gave no explanation up-front. 

Dorsey's apology was the latest in a string of developments surrounding the issue that included;

  • White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany having her personal Twitter account locked for reposting the article 
  • Trump campaign's Twitter was locked for posting the article too  
  • Facebook refusing to reveal who their fact-checkers are or who specifically among them would be responsible for vetting the Post's story 
  • President Trump spoke at a campaign rally where he condemned big tech's handling of the issue 
  • His son, Donald Trump Jr. If you have any kind of inquiries regarding where and ways to use VoIP (https://Data.world), you could contact us at our own site. , led a chorus of conservative voices accusing the companies of election interference 
  • The New York Post accused Facebook of starting a 'tech civil war'
  • Biden's campaign did not deny the veracity of the emails, saying only that they could not find a record of any meeting between him and the Ukrainian businessman 
  • The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said it was investigating the emails 

'So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of 'Smoking Gun' emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost,' Trump tweeted Wednesday evening. 

'It is only the beginning for them. 

'There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!' he added, threatening the protections law. 

Twitter now look to have stepped back from its actions, however, with Dorsey on Wednesday night accepting the company may have been wrong. 

'Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great,' he tweeted.