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FEC says Twitter didn't break election law in blocking sharing of Hunter Biden laptop story, report

The commission reportedly made the decision last month in private and will reveal it in public soon.

Updated: September 13, 2021 - 4:43pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The Federal Election Commission has reportedly ruled Twitter did not break election laws in the homestretch of the 2020 presidential election cycle in blocking users from sharing links to a news story about then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.

The New York Times, citing a document it obtained outlining the decision, reported Monday the agency said Twitter's actions were legal because they were done for valid commercial, not political, reasons.

The agency said Twitter "credibly explained" that stopping the dissemination of The New York Post story, which was based on an email retrieved from the hard drive of a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden, was a commercial decision based on policies on hacked materials.

The commission reportedly made the decision last month in private and will reveal it in public soon, according to The Hill newspaper. 

The October 2020 story alleged that Hunter Biden used his influence to connect a Ukrainian businessman, and fellow board member at the Ukraine gas company Burisma, with his father when he was serving as vice president.

The Post said it had received material for the story from then-President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and that it was discovered on a laptop dropped off at a repair shop in April 2019 and never retrieved.

The platform prevented users from sharing links to the story in tweets or direct messages, based on its hacked materials policy, which resulted in criticism that the social media giant was protecting the Biden campaign.

However, days after Twitter reversed its decision with CEO Jack Dorsey saying the banning was a "mistake."

The Republican National Committee filed a formal FEC complaint against Twitter, contending that the platform's decision to block the sharing of the story was an “illegal in-kind contribution” to then-candidate Biden’s campaign, The Hill also reports.