Facebook says it is limiting distribution of bombshell Hunter Biden story prior to fact-check

Move is "part of [the company's] standard process," spokesman says.

Updated: October 14, 2020 - 3:52pm

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Facebook on Wednesday took the preemptive step of "reducing the distribution" of an exposé on Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter, with a spokesman claiming that the site was doing so even prior to a fact-check on the story. 

New York Post report on Wednesday revealed that, according to emails obtained by the paper, Hunter Biden in 2015 introduced his then-vice president father to Vadym Pozharskyi, a chief executive for Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian firm at the center of a years-long corruption scandal. Hunter Biden himself sat on the board of Burisma for several years. 

"Dear Hunter," the email from Pozharskyi reads, "thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It's realty [sic] an honor and pleasure."

The report made waves on social media early on Wednesday, yet late Wednesday morning, Facebook announced that it would be limiting the reach of the article on its servers, even before a fact-check on it had been conducted. 

"While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook's third-party fact checking partners," Facebook spokesman Andy Stone wrote on Twitter. 

"In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform," he added. 

Stone later followed up by claiming that the decision was "part of [Facebook's] standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation. We temporarily reduce distribution pending fact-checker review."

The spokesman linked to a Facebook policy outlining its rules for limiting the reach of content. "[I]f we have signals that a piece of content is false," the policy reads in part, "we temporarily reduce its distribution pending review by a third-party fact-checker."

It is unclear what information in the Post's report may have been judged "false" prior to the upcoming fact-check. 

The Biden campaign, meanwhile, on Wednesday denied that any such meeting ever occurred. "We have reviewed Joe Biden's official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place," the campaign said in a statement.