Critics of Joe Biden have shared conspiracy theories claiming both social and legacy media companies are intervening on the Democratic presidential candidate’s behalf. Twitter, alongside Facebook, continues to face criticism for its handling of the New York Post’s articles on Biden’s son Hunter, prompting a public statement of regret from CEO Jack Dorsey and a reversal of its policy on hacked materials, which it had cited in blocking shares of the Post’s article. But when Twitter experienced a temporary outage yesterday, there was continued speculation of a conspiracy to aid the Bidens by blocking the spread of the story. An article by The Gateway Pundit headlined, “HUGE! TWITTER SHUTS DOWN After Tucker Carlson Announces He Will Release NEW HUNTER BIDEN EMAILS on His Show Tonight” was shared over 2,000 times on Facebook, although there was no evidence of a connection between Carlson’s announcement and Twitter’s outage.
Meanwhile, Friday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted a link to a piece from the satirical website The Babylon Bee, titled, “Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of Negative Biden News,” adding a comment that read in part, “Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this.” The “interview” reference was to Biden’s town hall appearance on ABC, which took place after Twitter’s outage had been resolved. The moderation of Biden’s town hall by George Stephanopoulos was also the subject of conspiracy theories, including the narrative that ABC and Stephanopoulos “colluded” to shield Biden from questions about the newspaper’s articles. At the simultaneous town hall event hosted by NBC, the confrontational moderating style of anchor Savannah Guthrie toward Trump prompted claims, including one from conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, that Guthrie was working on Biden’s behalf.
This analysis is from our disinformation email briefings.
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