Twitter and Facebook both took extraordinary censorship measures against The New York Post on Wednesday, following its revelations in emails from Hunter Biden - and made unfounded accusations that the article used "pirated material."
The move was taken despite presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign denying that it had anything on its “official agenda” regarding the meeting with a Ukrainian energy official in 2015 - and without any statement that the his son's computer had been hacked.
The New York Post's main Twitter account was locked down as of 2:20 p.m. Wednesday because its articles on the messages obtained from Joe Biden's laptop violated the social network's rules against “distributing pirated material,” according to an email the Post received from Twitter.
Twitter also blocked users from sharing the link to the New York Post article stating that Hunter Biden introduced Joe Biden to the Ukrainian businessman, calling the link "potentially harmful."
“In accordance with our policy on pirated material, as well as our method of blocking URLs, we take steps to block any links or images of the material in question on Twitter,” said a Twitter spokesperson from New York Post in a statement.
The company said it took the action because of the lack of an authoritative article on the origin of the material included in the Post article.
Users who clicked on the link on Twitter received an alert warning them that the web page could be “dangerous” and that it could contain content that would violate Twitter's rules if shared directly on the platform.
The extraordinary step was taken after Facebook said it will limit the dissemination of the New York Post story on its own platform. The social network added that the story can be examined by independent fact-checkers.
US Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) Sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday requesting answers as to why the platform “censored” the Post's reporting.
“The seemingly selective nature of this public intervention suggests bias on Facebook's part,” Mr Hawley wrote. "And your efforts to suppress the distribution of content revealing potentially unethical activity by a presidential candidate raises a number of additional questions, to which I expect immediate answers."
Hawley then sent a similar letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, lambasting the company for what he called "an unusual intervention that is not universally applied to all content."
The senator asked how Twitter determined that the Post's story violated its policy on pirated content and why the company had taken "unprecedented action" to lock down the news organization's account.
“I ask that you respond to these questions immediately and provide the necessary justifications so that your users can be confident that you are not seeking to influence the outcome of the presidential election with your content removal decisions,” wrote M Hawley.