Between Facebook and Twitter, two reasons have been given to justify their sweeping censorship of the New York Post’s explosive reports about Hunter Biden. We are told that the story might be “misinformation” and must be fact-checked before it can be posted, and that the alleged damning material reportedly recovered from Hunter Biden’s laptop was “obtained without authorization” and has to be banned so as not to “incentivize hacking.”
A number of problems with this reasoning immediately spring to mind. First of all, how can the Post report be both misinformation and the result of hacking? If the alleged email revealing that Hunter set up a meeting between his father and a top executive at the Ukrainian energy company Burisma is fake in some way, then it probably wasn’t obtained through hacking. If it was obtained through hacking, then it’s probably not fake. It seems that there is a big difference between “this information is false” and “you have no right to access and publish this information.” Indeed, these seem like mutually exclusive claims.
More importantly, Facebook and Twitter do not appear to actually have policies banning the publication of misinformation or materials obtained without permission. They may have the policies written somewhere in their terms of service, but these supposed rules only become active realities in very select — and politically convenient — circumstances.
WikiLeaks documents are often the fruits of hacking. President Trump’s tax returns were illicitly leaked to the press. The Melania Tapes were recorded and released without permission. They also had no news value whatsoever, except to embarrass the First Lady (and failed even in that regard). Dozens of other examples could be offered.
“Material obtained without permission” is a category that covers a great many news stories, for better or worse, and also includes some of the biggest and most important scoops in modern history. Yet this is the first time that Twitter or Facebook has locked down the account of a major news outlet for publishing such content and disabled users from viewing or sharing it.
As for misinformation, any consistent policy banning unsourced, dubiously sourced, or flat out false reporting, would have to cover drivel like The Atlantic story alleging that Trump called fallen soldiers “losers” and “suckers.” There was no compelling evidence that Trump ever said it and many current and former White House officials — including John Bolton, a critic of Trump’s — went on the record to refute it. But The Atlantic was never flagged, suspended, blocked, or otherwise punished in any way for its report.
Black Lives Matter and its promoters have also never been censored by the social media giants despite using their platforms to spread misinformation on a massive and destructive scale. Going back to the thoroughly debunked “hands up don’t shoot” lie, all the way through the high profile police shootings this summer, BLM consistently passes off its wild assumptions and fabrications as fact, ignoring the evidence or directly contradicting it. The effects of this misinformation are dire, and often take the form of smoldering buildings and looted gas stations. Any effort to tamp down on the propagation of dangerous falsehoods would have to involve severe consequences for BLM and its supporters.
It is obvious that Big Tech does not view all misinformation, or alleged misinformation, as created equal. The kind that advances left wing causes is justified, in their minds. Misinformation (or accurate information, for that matter) becomes bad and harmful only if and when it threatens to interfere with the Left’s agenda. This is, quite clearly, the real policy of both Facebook and Twitter.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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