Report: Facebook Successfully Suppressed Reach of NY Post Biden Bombshell by Half

Mark Zuckerberg at Georgetown
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS /Getty

A recent study by the social media engagement tracking firm Newswhip found that the New York Post’s recent bombshell story on Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and their alleged deal with Burisma had its reach cut in half by Facebook compared to anti-Trump stories from other publications. This stands in stark contrast to Twitter’s efforts to censor the story, which actually doubled the attention it received according to the MIT Technology Review.

Newsweek reports that social media tracking firm Newswhip recently analyzed the engagement that the New York Post’s bombshell story on Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden received across social media.

Breitbart News recently reported on the New York Post’s story that indicated that Joe Biden may have met with an adviser to the board of Burisma while he was Vice President, arranged by his son Hunter, who was working as a lobbyist for the company at the time. Joe Biden has previously said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”

However, the leaked emails appear to show that Hunter introduced his father to a Bursima executive less than a year before Biden, acting as Vice President, pressured the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company. Shortly after the story broke, many found themselves having trouble sharing it across social media. This censorship comes just weeks after executives from both Facebook and Twitter joined the Biden transition team.

The data on the story’s engagement across social media compiled by Newswhip shows that roughly 1.94 million people engaged with the Post’s story in the first 24 hours after it was published. As of Sunday, around 2.12 million readers had engaged with the story.

But, by comparison, when the Atlantic published a story which alleged that President Trump referred to fallen soldiers as “losers and suckers,” 3.69 million readers engaged with the story on Facebook in the first 24 hours  As of Sunday, 6.86 million people had read the story. The New York Times article on the President’s tax returns received around 4.12 million engagements in the first 24 hours while 5.37 million have read it as of Sunday. The New York Times story on Trump’s taxes also had engagement numbers similar to the Atlatnic’s Trump smear. Unlike the Biden bombshell, Facebook did not publicly say that it would suppress or otherwise influence the engagement of the anti-Trump stories.

Breitbart News reported extensively on attempts by social media firms to censor the Post’s story. Unlike Twitter, Facebook did not outright prevent users from sharing the story but it did flag it to its fact-checkers to review, when one of these stories is deemed “false” it causes views of an article to plummet by around 80 percent.

Breitbart News reporter Alana Mastrangelo wrote in a recent article that attempts by Twitter to censor the Post’s story actually helped its reach in some cases. Mastrangelo wrote:

What is known as the “Streisand Effect” — a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to censor information has the unintended consequence of further publicizing it instead — went into overdrive after social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter attempted to suppress a NY Post article about Hunter Biden, according to data published in the MIT Technology Review.

Social media companies reduced the distribution of a New York Post story containing bombshell information indicating that — contrary to his previous denials— Joe Biden allegedly did meet with an adviser to the board of Burisma while he was vice president, arranged by his son Hunter, who was then working as a lobbyist for the company.

Data provided by the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs shows that shares of the bombshell NY Post article have actually “nearly doubled” following Twitter’s attempt at suppressing the story.

“Twitter managed to do the opposite of what it intended,” the report added, noting that the social media company’s CEO Jack Dorsey ended up conceding to the notion that blocking the NY Post link was “wrong,” and that Twitter has changed its policies following the incident.

Read the full article at Breitbart News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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