Twitter briefly locked the Trump campaign out of its official account on Thursday as part of its scorched earth crusade against a bombshell New York Post report about Joe and Hunter Biden.
This isn’t George Orwell’s imagined Oceania, and no, you’re not in Room 101.
A Wednesday report from the Post released images and emails pulled from a computer allegedly discarded by Hunter Biden, whom a Delaware computer repair shop owner claimed brought in for work in April of 2019 and left it there.
The files from the computer, according to the Post’s reporting, contained emails belonging to Hunter Biden, one of which purported to show the younger Biden previously taking advantage of his father’s status as vice president when working with foreign entities.
The son of the Democratic presidential nominee shopped Joe Biden’s status during his international business dealings, and Biden was involved in some capacity, the reporting claims.
One email dumped Wednesday shows that Biden might have actually met with a Burisma Holdings board adviser in 2015, according to the Post.
The Biden campaign has denied parts of the report.
But the Post is the country’s fourth largest newspaper by circulation, so one would assume that its reporting is fair game for use with 19 days until a presidential election.
Even if the veracity of the report is challenged, the information is of significant interest to the public, and should be argued with, and not censored.
But the argument from Twitter is that the Post’s reporting violates the company’s privacy policies.
Twitter has blocked the Post’s reporting on the subject, and has targeted high-profile accounts for sharing it, including the accounts of White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and the House Judiciary GOP, the latter of which saw its direct link to a government website containing the Post report blocked by the social media giant.
Early on Thursday, the Team Trump Twitter account tweeted a video which contained some of the Post’s reporting, and hit at Biden for the alleged corruption.
As a result, President Donald Trump’s campaign staffers were quickly locked out of the account.
Trump staffer Mike Hahn shared an image of the message the campaign account received when attempting to access the account:
19 days out from the election. pic.twitter.com/Z9FFzridyr
— Mike Hahn (@mikehahn_) October 15, 2020
The account was later reinstated.
Trump’s campaign apparently didn’t appreciate being censored, and signaled it would not be intimidated into refraining from sharing information about an opponent, from a credible news source, fewer than three weeks before the election.
The Trump campaign reposted the original video, but with a new message.
“We are back and we are re-posting the video Twitter doesn’t want you to watch,” Team Trump wrote.
The campaign added, “JOE BIDEN IS A LIAR WHO HAS BEEN RIPPING OFF OUR COUNTRY FOR YEARS! PASS IT ON.”
We are back and we are re-posting the video Twitter doesn’t want you to watch.
JOE BIDEN IS A LIAR WHO HAS BEEN RIPPING OFF OUR COUNTRY FOR YEARS!
PASS IT ON. pic.twitter.com/pSWyycFrEF
— Team Trump (Text VOTE to 88022) (@TeamTrump) October 15, 2020
Technically, Twitter was abiding by its own rules with regard to posts which might violate an individual’s privacy, as the Post’s original reporting contained an email address and what appeared to be private photos of Hunter Biden.
But the company has crossed a line, and is applying that policy in a way which, at least from the optics, seems to be motivated by a bias against conservatives, and a bias against reporting that might harm the Democrats’ presidential nominee.
Curiously, Twitter never blocked access to numerous false reports targeting President Trump, including debunked Russia conspiracy theories, an anonymously sourced hit piece accusing Trump of denigrating fallen U.S. troops and a disputed story published by The New York Times last month regarding illegally obtained alleged Trump tax documents.
Those and other stories have run rampant on Twitter.
Conservatives have long argued they are held to a different standard than liberals by the company and its CEO, Jack Dorsey.
The events of the last two days seem to bolster the argument for aggrieved conservative users.
Twitter is engaging in a censorship battle which is the digital equivalent of Gen. Sherman’s march to the sea, and it only took a negative report about a Democrat to make Dorsey apply his company’s own standards about disseminating hacked files or other material which might violate online privacy.
Oddly enough, per the Post, the Hunter Biden files were not even hacked.
They were reportedly abandoned 18 months ago.
Twitter’s position here is getting more difficult to justify, and messaging from the tech company is mixed, which Dorsey admitted Wednesday:
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2020
But the company’s chief executive had better come up with a lucid explanation quickly, as Senate Republicans have signaled they are about to turn up the heat on Silicon Valley’s suppression of free speech.
Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri have announced plans to vote next week on a subpoena that will require Dorsey to testify before the Senate on Oct. 23.
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