Facebook says it’s choking the spread of a controversial New York Post story about Hunter Biden while its fact-checkers investigate whether it’s true or not (FB)

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Facebook says it’s slowing the spread of a dubiously-sourced New York Post article that purports to contain files and emails from Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden.

Facebook is “reducing its distribution” while third-party fact-checkers verify whether the article is true, company spokesperson Andy Stone said in a tweet Wednesday.

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 article, published Wednesday morning, includes files and emails that were supposedly taken from a laptop that previously belonged to Hunter Biden. A spokesperson for Hunter Biden called the story “widely discredited conspiracy theories” in a statement to the New York Post.

But the story’s sourcing has raised questions about its authenticity: The files that allegedly belonged to Hunter Biden were provided to the Post through the an attorney for Rudy Giuliani, who is the personal lawyer for President Donald Trump. Giuliani’s lawyer told the Post that he obtained the files from an anonymous repair shop owner, where the laptop was allegedly left for repairs and never returned.

Facebook is now relying on its network of more than 50 fact-checking organizations — which includes the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, and the Daily Caller, the right-wing site founded by Tucker Carlson — to verify the truth of the contents of the story. Facebook has run its third-party fact-checking program since the end of 2016 in an effort to curb the proliferation of misinformation and fake news on its platform. 

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Although Facebook executives consistently boast about the success of its outsourced fact-checking program, critics have slammed it as ineffective and underutilized in mitigating misinformation on a platform with billions of pieces of content posted each day. In January, Facebook fact-checkers reviewed just 302 pieces of content.

Facebook has stated in the past that if the content in question is found by fact-checkers to be false, the piece of content will be downrated in the algorithm and thus appear less frequently in front of Facebook users. However, Facebook’s decision to reduce the New York Post story on Hunter Biden before fact-checkers have reviewed it seems to be an anomaly. It’s unclear whether Facebook has taken such proactive measures before to reduce the spread of a story from such a mainstream publication.

As of 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the article had been shared more than 50,000 times on Facebook, according to CrowdTangle, a social media analytics company owned by Facebook.

Neither Facebook nor the New York Post immediately responded to Business Insider’s requests for comment.

Republicans in the Senate have previously alleged that Hunter Biden’s position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company posed a conflict of interest during the Obama administration, when his father Joe Biden was engaged in Ukraine policy as Vice President. But the culmination of Republicans’ investigation,

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics

      

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