15 votes

Facebook and Twitter take unusual steps to limit spread of New York Post story

17 comments

  1. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    This is a really interesting case, and it's hard to even keep up with everything that's being written about it right now. Casey Newton's newsletter from last night is good coverage, with links to...

    This is a really interesting case, and it's hard to even keep up with everything that's being written about it right now.

    Casey Newton's newsletter from last night is good coverage, with links to a few other articles I'd say are worth reading: The platforms spy a hack-and-leak

    11 votes
    1. skybrian
      Link Parent
      It seems to me that if Facebook left their “virality circuit breaker” on all the time (for any content) it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

      It seems to me that if Facebook left their “virality circuit breaker” on all the time (for any content) it wouldn’t be a bad thing.

      4 votes
  2. rkcr
    Link
    I like this take on why it's hard to take the original story seriously.

    I like this take on why it's hard to take the original story seriously.

    Today began with a breathless story from the tabloid paper the New York Post alleging that, according to Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, had dropped off three laptops for repair in 2019 and had never picked them up again, and that the FBI subpoenaed the hard drives, but before turning them over the repairman had made a copy of the material on them, and he gave it to Giuliani, and it had incriminating material on it….

    10 votes
  3. [2]
    mono
    Link
    An interview between a group of reporters and the repair shop owner has been published. It's hard to listen to this and not feel that there's something fishy going on. He won't say exactly how or...

    An interview between a group of reporters and the repair shop owner has been published. It's hard to listen to this and not feel that there's something fishy going on.

    He won't say exactly how or why he became suspicious of the content on the laptop. He won't say whether the emails in question were physically saved to the hard drive or why they would be. He says he was worried about his life "if people knew what [he] knew," but that he sought attention from the authorities because "[he] just wanted it out of his shop." He outright refuses to acknowledge the contradiction.

    He says he asks some unknown person he trusts to bring them to the attention of the FBI and that FBI agents subsequently contacted him at least twice asking for tech help (what power cable to use). He can't confirm whether or not they were real FBI agents. He eventually becomes suspicious that the FBI is covering the whole thing up, and that's he worried they're going to retaliate for speaking about his involvement. He refuses to explicitly say whether he contacted Giuliani or vice versa after he concludes the FBI isn't doing anything, but seems to admit to contacting Giuliani supposedly because he felt unsafe. He refuses to say why he'd go to Giuliani if he felt his life was at risk, but says he has no opinion on Giuliani's lawyer sharing everything with NYP, making his involvement with all of this public.

    He doesn't seem like he's the mastermind behind a disinformation plot, but he's clearly not being forthright.

    10 votes
    1. Good_Apollo
      Link Parent
      Suspicious doesn’t even begin to describe this story.

      Suspicious doesn’t even begin to describe this story.

      3 votes
  4. [11]
    JXM
    Link
    A demonstrably false story shouldn't be allowed to spread across social networks. In this particular case, Twitter and Facebook did the right thing. Just look at something like Pizzagate or the...

    A demonstrably false story shouldn't be allowed to spread across social networks. In this particular case, Twitter and Facebook did the right thing. Just look at something like Pizzagate or the Seth Rich controversy to see what happens when this stuff spreads unchecked.

    (I also think the New York Post is a gossip rag with no integrity and that a story from them shouldn't be trusted unless it is confirmed by another, reputable source)

    4 votes
    1. [10]
      skybrian
      Link Parent
      I don’t trust the Post either, but I haven’t read enough to say that this particular story is “demonstrably false” rather than unproven. Are you basing that on anything in particular?

      I don’t trust the Post either, but I haven’t read enough to say that this particular story is “demonstrably false” rather than unproven. Are you basing that on anything in particular?

      5 votes
      1. Deimos
        Link Parent
        I don't know that it's "demonstrably false" either, but there are a lot of highly-suspicious aspects around it. Thomas Rid, a disinformation researcher, had a good Twitter thread explaining some...

        I don't know that it's "demonstrably false" either, but there are a lot of highly-suspicious aspects around it. Thomas Rid, a disinformation researcher, had a good Twitter thread explaining some of it: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1316363540421316609.html

        This Ars Technica article goes into some of it too, including links to other articles that go more in-depth about particular aspects (like the interview with the computer store owner): Twitter, Facebook face blowback after stopping circulation of NY Post story

        7 votes
      2. [4]
        gpl
        Link Parent
        Just read the story and judge for yourself. The alleged emails (screenshots of emails) come from a computer repairshop who said that someone dropped laptops off and never picked them up, that the...

        Just read the story and judge for yourself. The alleged emails (screenshots of emails) come from a computer repairshop who said that someone dropped laptops off and never picked them up, that the FBI confiscated those laptops so he doesn't actually have them anymore, but that beforehand he took screenshots of the supposedly incriminating emails. And then he gave those screenshots to Rudy Giuliani, who then gave them to the Post. With everything we know about Rudy's dealings in Ukraine, specifically with regards to looking for dirt on Hunter Biden with known Russian intelligence officials, there is in my opinion zero reason to treat this story as anything other than false. There is literally no paper trail and no hard evidence other than screenshots (which are easily forged) coming from a source who has stated publicly he was looking for dirt on Hunter Biden.

        In my opinion there is no good reason to think this particular story is true. And there are many good reasons to think this particular story is false.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          I agree with “no good reason to believe the story is true.” That’s not the same as false. That’s binary thinking. I would characterize this as no more likely to be true than any of the other...

          I agree with “no good reason to believe the story is true.” That’s not the same as false. That’s binary thinking.

          I would characterize this as no more likely to be true than any of the other conspiracy theories that I’m not going to bother looking into, and not really worth investigating unless someone credible finds more evidence. But just because I’m incurious doesn’t mean I would want to discourage someone else from looking into it.

          4 votes
          1. [2]
            HoolaBoola
            Link Parent
            I think giving such unsupported claims any benefit of doubt provides the conspiracy theorists an excellent tool in spreading misinformation. It's definitely false until there's any evidence of the...

            I think giving such unsupported claims any benefit of doubt provides the conspiracy theorists an excellent tool in spreading misinformation. It's definitely false until there's any evidence of the opposite. Not that people can't look into such things

            4 votes
            1. arp242
              Link Parent
              I don't have the impression that skybrain is giving the story the benefit of doubt, but is instead saying that "demonstrably false" isn't something that is, well, demonstrated. At this point it's...

              I don't have the impression that skybrain is giving the story the benefit of doubt, but is instead saying that "demonstrably false" isn't something that is, well, demonstrated. At this point it's merely an unproven claim, which is not the same as "false" either (much less "demonstrably false").

              4 votes
      3. [4]
        spit-evil-olive-tips
        Link Parent
        Remember the backstory here that Trump tried to get Ukraine to "investigate" Hunter Biden last year, which is what ultimately led to his impeachment. This is just another page from the same...

        Remember the backstory here that Trump tried to get Ukraine to "investigate" Hunter Biden last year, which is what ultimately led to his impeachment. This is just another page from the same playbook.

        Stories like this, especially when released by Trump affiliates like Rudy Giuliani and the New York Post, do not deserve the benefit of the doubt. We should presume them completely false unless a very high standard of evidence is met.

        It's like if someone came to you and claimed to have invented a perpetual motion machine, you wouldn't publish a front page "inventor claims groundbreaking discovery for unlimited free energy" story and then start contacting scientists to evaluate the machine. Anyone making claims about perpetual motion machines is just presumed to be full of shit right off the bat.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          skybrian
          Link Parent
          Yes, of course, there are plenty of reasons for extreme skepticism. But “demonstrably false” means you have to be prepared to demonstrate that it’s false. It’s not just a way of saying “I think...

          Yes, of course, there are plenty of reasons for extreme skepticism. But “demonstrably false” means you have to be prepared to demonstrate that it’s false. It’s not just a way of saying “I think it’s false and I really mean it.” It means you have proof.

          5 votes
          1. [2]
            Good_Apollo
            Link Parent
            Nothing about their story can be substantiated as presented. It’s like asking for us to prove a negative.

            Nothing about their story can be substantiated as presented. It’s like asking for us to prove a negative.

            1 vote
            1. MimicSquid
              Link Parent
              So would you say that it's difficult to demonstrate the ways in which this is false?

              So would you say that it's difficult to demonstrate the ways in which this is false?

              1 vote
  5. Flashynuff
    Link
    Twitter did the same thing (flagging any message that linked to the site as 'harmful') when DDOSSecrets published BlueLeaks. Didn't hear Republicans give a shit about that censorship then...

    Twitter did the same thing (flagging any message that linked to the site as 'harmful') when DDOSSecrets published BlueLeaks. Didn't hear Republicans give a shit about that censorship then...

    3 votes