Facebook, Twitter’s handling of New York Post article raises election night concerns

Facebook and Twitter largely bungled their efforts Wednesday to limit the spread of a New York Post story about Hunter Biden, inviting allegations of censorship and raising concerns about the how they will handle a flood of information on election night.

Facebook was the first to take action, with communications manager Andy Stone saying the platform was applying its viral misinformation policy to limit the spread of the article and allow its third-party fact checkers to evaluate it.

But by that point the story had already been racing around Facebook, and Stone’s announcement did not seem to meaningfully limit the spread. By Thursday afternoon, it had been shared nearly 400,000 times on the platform, according to the Facebook-owned social media tracking service Crowdtangle.

Twitter approached the story differently by barring users from sharing links to it in tweets and direct messages, but without informing users that the company had determined that the article violated the platform’s policy on hacked materials.

CEO Jack Dorsey later said it was “unacceptable” how the company failed to explain its decision at the time.

The manner in which both social media giants handled such a divisive news story so late in the presidential campaign is raising questions about how tech companies will evaluate a high volume of information, and potentially misinformation, on Election Day.

Facebook has not made clear which aspect of the article led to the decision to limit its spread.