GOP Condemns Big Tech for Initially Censoring Hunter Biden Laptop Story

Republicans condemned Big Tech companies such as Twitter and Facebook for censoring a New York Post story revealing emails about Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings in October 2020 following a recent New York Times story confirming the authenticity of laptop emails. 

The Justice Department is reportedly investigating President Joe Biden’s son for foreign lobbying violations related to his overseas business dealings — likely in places such as China, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan — in addition to scrutinizing his taxes.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that it obtained emails “from a cache of files that appears to have come from a laptop abandoned by Mr. Biden in a Delaware repair shop.” 

The outlet said: “The email and others in the cache were authenticated by people familiar with them and with the investigation.” 

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, tweeted in response: “The New York Times admits what we’ve known for years: the Hunter Biden laptop story was true. Big Tech’s censorship of this story was a disgrace.” 

Fellow Republican, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, echoed that, saying: “The Democrats and their allies in media and Big Tech conspired to cover up the Hunter Biden story to help Joe Biden win a presidential election.” 

And Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted: “Hunter Biden’s laptop was always real, but the mainstream media and Big Tech silenced you for talking about it anyway.” 

The Daily Mail said in April 2021 that cyber forensic experts determined the data found on the Hunter Biden laptop to be authentic. The Daily Caller reported in October 2020 that a cybersecurity expert confirmed at least one key email was absolutely verified. 

The New York Post articles in question, published in October 2020, said the publication received a copy of a laptop hard drive belonging to Hunter Biden from Rudy Giuliani, then a lawyer for Donald Trump. Giuliani said he obtained the hard drive from John Paul Mac Isaac’s repair shop, and Mac Isaac said he’d also provided a copy to the FBI after Hunter Biden had left it behind after dropping it off for repairs in April 2019.

The outlet reported that emails from the hardware showed evidence of a possible meeting between Hunter Biden, then-Vice President Joe Biden, and a top executive at the Ukrainian gas giant Burisma, which Biden has denied took place. The newspaper also detailed Hunter’s financial dealings with shady Chinese businessmen. 

When the publication attempted to post the articles on its Twitter account, the social media company claimed doing so violated its rule against sharing “hacked” materials, although CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted the following day: “Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix.” 

But the company continued to lock the New York Post’s Twitter account, insisting the outlet delete its Hunter Biden story tweets before eventually relenting after a two-week stalemate. 

Facebook also limited the dissemination of the Post story. Andy Stone, a former Democratic spokesman who now runs communications at Meta (formerly known as Facebook), tweeted on Oct. 14, 2020: “I want [to] be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners. In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform. This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation.” 

Social media’s throttling of the story just days before a crucial presidential debate between then-President Trump and candidate Biden empowered the latter to dismiss the laptop emails as Russian disinformation, a line parroted by members of his team for months. 

Dorsey testified before the Senate the following month, after Biden defeated Trump. 

“We made a quick interpretation, using no other evidence, that the materials in the article were obtained through hacking, and according to our policy, we blocked them from being spread,” Dorsey said. “Upon further consideration, we admitted this action was wrong and corrected it within 24 hours.” 

Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, tweeted Wednesday: “I’m calling for a Congressional investigation into how Big Tech, mainstream media, and the Democrat industrial complex colluded to suppress the Hunter Biden scandals — and during the last days of the 2020 election.” 

Rep. Steve Scalise, the House minority whip, said: “Trump was right. Republicans were right. The New York Post was right. Big Tech engaged in a cover-up to help Joe Biden win the election. They need to be held accountable.” 

Rep. Jim Banks, an Indiana Republican, added: “When will Meta and Twitter be held accountable for knowingly and intentionally lying to the American people to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story days before the election??? Big Tech interfered in our democracy and there must be consequences!” 

The Federal Election Commission said in September 2021 that its members unanimously rejected complaints from the Republican National Committee and others that Twitter’s decision to block the sharing of links to the articles constituted an illegal campaign contribution to Biden. 

The FEC pointed to Twitter’s assertion that part of the reason it stopped the spread of the New York Post articles was over concerns that foreign actors obtained the materials through hacking. No evidence ever emerged that the Hunter Biden laptop story stemmed from a foreign hacking operation.

The FEC said it found “no reason to believe” that Dorsey or Brandon Borrman, who was Twitter vice president of global communications, broke the law. 

A lengthy statement from Yoel Roth, head of site integrity for Twitter, was included in Twitter’s response to the FEC, in which he claimed he learned in election security meetings “that there were rumors that a hack-and-leak operation would involve Hunter Biden.”