Censorship backfire: NY Post has gained nearly 200K Twitter followers since the platform locked its account

Just over two weeks ago, Twitter locked the New York Post's account after the news outlet shared its explosive findings regarding Hunter Biden's overseas business dealings and the potential involvement of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden after they obtained a laptop formerly belonging to the potential future first son.

In the aftermath, Twitter explained its censor first, fact-check later action by arguing there was a "lack of authoritative reporting on the origins of the materials included" in the Post's articles and that the posts violated its "distribution of hacked materials" policy.

Many onlookers rightfully saw the action for what it was: Blatant censorship of a major U.S. news agency due to their publication of information damaging to the Democratic Party's candidate.

It has backfired

But now, two weeks later, Twitter's attempt to silence the New York Post appears to have backfired as interest in the story skyrocketed and the Post's Twitter account has grown exponentially.

According to the social media data tracker, Social Blade, the Post has gained more than 189,000 Twitter followers since Oct. 14, the day the account was locked. Blaze Media chief executive Tyler Cardon noted that the additions amount to a stunning 10.6% increase in followers over roughly two weeks without creating a single post.

On Oct.13, the day before the story broke and the Post's account was locked, the news outlet's primary account boasted 1,777,638 followers. As of Friday at the time of this story's publication, that number had risen to 1,968,406.

Anything else?

The Post was still unable to post on its account as of Friday as Twitter has said the account would remain locked until the news outlet agreed to remove the posts in question.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey appeared before Congress on Wednesday to answer questions from Senate lawmakers about his company's alleged censorship of conservative voices.

During the testimony, though he has since admitted that blocking the spread of the story on users accounts and in direct messages was wrong, Dorsey stood by his company's decision to lock the Post's account. He added that the situation could be rectified, however, if the news outlet would simply delete their original tweets.

"They have to log into their account, which they can do right this minute, delete the original tweet, which fell under our original enforcement action, and they can tweet the exact same material ... and it will go through," he said.

So far, the Post is refusing to kowtow to pressure, and with the massive growth they are seeing as a result of Twitter's actions against them, that hardly seems like a bad idea.

Joe Biden finally responds to Hunter story, lashing out and labeling it a 'last ditch effort' to 'smear' his family

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has at last publicly responded to bombshell allegations that his son, Hunter, leveraged his father's high-profile government position to secure sweetheart business deals overseas — allegedly kicking back cash to his former vice president dad.

What did he say?

During an interview with local Milwaukee station WISN-TV, Biden called the allegations "garbage" and a "last ditch effort" to "smear" his family ahead of the Nov. 3 general election.

Biden had yet to publicly respond to the allegations since the New York Post released its initial findings in a report last week. The Post reportedly acquired a copy of a laptop hard drive previously owned by Hunter Biden from President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, after Hunter allegedly dropped off the computer at a repair shop in 2019 but never retrieved it.

As the story garnered widespread attention, the Biden campaign repeatedly ducked opportunities to answer questions from reporters. The campaign called early morning press "lids" and released only a vague statement arguing Biden's alleged meeting with a Burisma official was not on his "official schedule."

During the interview, WISN reporter Adrienne Pedersen said, "Wisconsin's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, put out a statement on Homeland Security letterhead saying Hunter Biden, together with other Biden family members, profited off the Biden name."

She then asked, "Is there any legitimacy to Sen. Johnson's claims?"

Biden replied, "None whatsoever! This is the same garbage Rudy Giuliani, Trump's henchman. It's the last ditch effort in this desperate campaign to smear me and my family."

One-on-one with Joe Biden youtu.be

"Even the man who served with him on that committee, the former nominee for the Republican Party [Sen. Mitt Romney], said there's no basis to this, and you know and all and the vast majority of the intelligence people have come out and said there's no basis at all," Biden said.

"Ron should be ashamed of himself," Biden declared.

Anything else?

While it's true that Democratic lawmakers and several former intelligence officials have come out parroting the narrative that the story is part of a Russian disinformation campaign, that claim has been repudiated by the current administration and Justice Department officials.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe threw cold water on the theory Monday, plainly articulating there is "no intelligence" supporting it.

"Let me be clear," Ratcliffe told Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo. "The intelligence community doesn't believe that, because there's no intelligence that supports that, and we have shared no intelligence with Chairman [Adam] Schiff or any other member of Congress that Hunter Biden's laptop is part of some Russian disinformation campaign — it's simply not true."

Then on Tuesday, the Department of Justice and the FBI reportedly confirmed Ratcliffe's assessment.

House Republicans demand answers from FBI director about Hunter Biden's hard drive after NY Post exposé

Nineteen Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter demanding answers from FBI Director Christopher Wray about whether the bureau had possession of a hard drive that led to the controversial New York Post exposé.

Catherine Herridge of CBS News posted the letter to her social media account on Friday:

READ: Letter from 19 house Republicans to Director Wray asks main questions surrounding @FBI forensic analysis of a… https://t.co/DWphsIRH5l
— Catherine Herridge (@Catherine Herridge)1602897386.0

"Yesterday, the New York Post published an article entitled, 'Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad.' The article documents how a recently uncovered laptop and hard drive allegedly revealed e-mails to and from Hunter Biden that strongly indicated that former Vice President Joe Biden was, in fact, aware of his son's overseas dealings," the letter read.

The letter went on to address the allegation that the FBI was in possession of the hard drive in 2019.

"This action took place right at the end of the U.S. House of Representative's impeachment sham against President Donald J. Trump, and right before the U.S. Senate tried the case. A large portion of the President's legal defense case revolved around strong evidence that former Vice President Biden's son, Hunter, was peddling his influence to his father to land lucrative jobs overseas that he might not have otherwise been qualified for," the letter continued.

The letter went on to call it a "gross error of judgement" and a "severe violation of trust" if the FBI had been in possession of the hard drive and had not divulged the information that was so damaging to the Biden campaign.

They demanded the FBI answer if they had possession of the hard drive, whether they had informed the White House or the Department of Justice about the hard drive, and if they had authenticated the evidence.

The lawmakers asked for an answer to their letter from Wray by Thursday.

Also on Friday, Biden snapped at a reporter who asked him to respond to the New York Post story, and instead accused him of participating in a smear campaign against him.

Here's more about the NY Post Biden report:

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to dad | New York Postwww.youtube.com

Twitter caves and reverses policies on NY Post story ban after furious backlash

Twitter reversed course on Thursday and said that they would allow users to post a controversial New York post story damaging to the Joe Biden presidential campaign.

Twitter's head of legal, policy, trust and safety, Vijaya Gadde, tweeted Thursday evening that after much public input, they would be changing their policies to allow people to post the story and others like it.

On Wednesday Twitter clarified that they had banned the posting of the story because it included personal and private information, something that is prohibited by Twitter's terms of use. Critics of the social media giant accused it of banning the story in order to help Democrats and influence the election.

Gadde explained why they decided to change course.

"Over the last 24 hours, we've received significant feedback (from critical to supportive) about how we enforced our Hacked Materials Policy yesterday. After reflecting on this feedback, we have decided to make changes to the policy and how we enforce it," she tweeted.

Over the last 24 hours, we’ve received significant feedback (from critical to supportive) about how we enforced our… https://t.co/9vr4GU0KUp
— Vijaya Gadde (@Vijaya Gadde)1602814016.0

Gadde explained that the ban policy was implemented in 2018 but that Twitter had since then developed new tools to aid in stopping the spread of unsubstantiated reports.

"We believe that labeling Tweets and empowering people to assess content for themselves better serves the public interest and public conversation. The Hacked Material Policy is being updated to reflect these new enforcement capabilities," Gadde continued.

"So, what's changing? 1. We will no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them 2. We will label Tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on Twitter," she added.

She went on to thank everyone for their input.

Some, like reporter Andrew Feinberg were critical of the decision.

"How much did the bullying from GOP senators factor into this decision," he tweeted to Gadde.

CNN analyst and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa accused Twitter of aiding foreign adversaries in spreading fake news.

Here's more about the controversial New York Post story:

Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to dad | New York Postwww.youtube.com

Twitter now restricting access to an official government website in order to censor NY Post's bombshell Hunter Biden story

In an amazing development Thursday morning, Twitter restricted user access to an official government website in order to censor a bombshell report on Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

What are the details?

On Wednesday, the New York Post ran a story about a "smoking gun" email allegedly indicating former Vice President Biden did in fact meet with a top Burisma executive while in office despite repeatedly claiming the contrary.

Twitter went to great lengths to censor the story, blocking users from sharing it on the platform, barring users from sending it in direct messages, and suspending high-profile accounts that shared the story — including accounts operated by the New York Post, the Trump campaign, and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

In response to the censorship, the Republican House Judiciary Committee decided to publish the story on their website so that interested Americans could read it.

The committee then posted a link to the publication on Twitter, redirecting users to their website, not the New York Post's. But it didn't matter, Twitter censored that, too.

Twitter has blocked users from tweeting the link to the @nypost's story on Hunter Biden.So we put it on our websi… https://t.co/c68ow57pRa
— House Judiciary GOP (@House Judiciary GOP)1602709694.0

Users who tried to access the link had their screens flashed with a warning page, which said "this link may be unsafe."

"The link you are trying to access has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially spammy or unsafe, in accordance with Twitter's URL Policy," the warning page stated.

The page also included a list of reasons for which the link could be considered unsafe:

  • malicious links that could steal personal information or harm electronic devices
  • spammy links that mislead people or disrupt their experience
  • violent or misleading content that could lead to real-world harm
  • certain categories of content that, if posted directly on Twitter, are a violation of the Twitter Rules

Image Source: Twitter screenshot

In a thread posted by its "Safety" account, Twitter alleged that images and materials contained in the Post's article violated its "private information policy" and its "distribution of hacked materials policy."

What else?

Interestingly enough, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged the social media giant's handling of the situation was "unacceptable."

In a tweet Wednesday evening, he said: "Our communication around our actions on the [New York Post] article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we're blocking: unacceptable."

The Daily Caller's Geoffrey Ingersoll pointed out the hypocrisy in a tweet Thursday morning.

So, let me see if I get this right: The morning after @jack's big mea culpa on how stupid it was to block the NYPos… https://t.co/jIFlGH50cy
— Geoffrey Ingersoll (@Geoffrey Ingersoll)1602767901.0

Jason Buttrill, a former intelligence analyst who now works as the chief researcher for "The Glenn Beck Program," wrote in a tweet: "WOW. Now Twitter is blocking access to government sites as well."

Washington Examiner reporter Jerry Dunleavy noted in a tweet that Twitter is not only restricting viewing access to the link on the Judiciary Committee's website, but it is also restricting users from sharing the link on the platform.

Anything else?

Instead of facing questions from the media about the report Wednesday, Biden's campaign called an early morning press "lid."

Then later in the afternoon, the campaign released a prepared statement to Politico that read, "We have reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place."

Though Politico added that "Biden's campaign would not rule out the possibility that the former VP had some kind of informal interaction with [Vadym] Pozharskyi, which wouldn't appear on Biden's official schedule. But they said any encounter would have been cursory. Pozharskyi did not respond to a request for comment."