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Twitter Ban Backfires, Biden Email Attention 'Nearly Doubled' Following Censorship Attempt

10-20-2020
Twitter tried to censor what it deemed to be "misinformation" surrounding a story last week about leaked emails from Joe Biden and his son, Hunter – but it didn't work. In fact, it totally backfired.
 
Last week, a New York Post report exposed emails that revealed Joe Biden, during his time as vice president, possibly met with an executive of Ukrainian gas company Burisma at his son Hunter's behest. Joe Biden has long insisted he had no knowledge of his son's business dealings with the company that paid Hunter $50,000 a month to sit on its board.
 
Social media giant Twitter had blocked users from posting links to the New York Post article on its platform, saying this was a violation against the Hacked Material Policy. But the ban only brought more attention to the story.
 
According to the media intelligence firm Zignal Labs, shares of the Post article "nearly doubled" after Twitter started suppressing it.
 
It's called the Streisand Effect – a social phenomenon that occurs when an attempt to hide, remove, or censor information ends up bringing it more attention.
 
 
Zignal found a surge of shares immediately after Twitter instituted the block, jumping from about 5,500 shares every 15 minutes to about 10,000.
 
The Republican National Committee then filed a Federal Election Commission complaint, claiming that the ban "amounts to an illegal corporate in-kind political contribution to the Biden campaign" leading Twitter to undo the ban.
 
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later said in a tweet, "straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that."
President Trump criticized both Twitter and Facebook for their handling of the story. Facebook had limited the sharing of the Post report as well.
 
The FBI is investigating the emails and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe says the investigation has shown the emails were not part of a Russian disinformation effort.

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