In this file combination of pictures created on 29 September 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former US vice president Joe Biden (L) and US president Donald Trump speak during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio
In this file combination of pictures created on 29 September 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and former US vice president Joe Biden (L) and US president Donald Trump speak during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OhioAFP

US president Donald Trump has slammed Facebook and Twitter for restricting the distribution of a New York Post article criticizing Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The New York Post published a series of stories on Wednesday citing emails, purportedly sent by Biden’s son.

The reports claimed it got those emails from Trump’s private lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, reports NPR.org.

Facebook limited the spread of the story which was liked, shared or commented on almost 600,000 times on Facebook, according to data from CrowdTangle.

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In an unprecedented step, Twitter blocked users from posting pictures of the emails or links to two of the New York Post’s stories, citing its rules against sharing “content obtained through hacking that contains private information.”

Twitter said that the “images contained in the articles include personal and private information—like email addresses and phone numbers—which violate our rules”.

However, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged that the company’s communication about why it was blocking the articles “was not great”.

“Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable”, he tweeted.

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The action by Facebook and Twitter resulted in a political storm in the US.

Trump tweeted that it was “so terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story”.

Although Facebook did not remove it from its platform but limited its spread.

“REPEAL SECTION 230!!!” Trump said in a tweet.

Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri sent letters to Facebook and Twitter, pressing them on the decisions to reduce distribution and block the story.

Twitter and Facebook have been acting more aggressively to curb the spread of false claims and manipulation related to the election.