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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Twitter Locks Press Secretary McEnany’s Account Over Hunter Biden Article

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany was locked out of her personal Twitter account on Wednesday after she shared a New York Post article related to a negative news story of Hunter Biden, former vice president Joe Biden’s son.

“Twitter has locked the personal account of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany for sharing news Democrats don’t like,” President Donald Trump’s campaign war room posted to Twitter on Wednesday evening, accompanied by a screenshot that showed the press secretary’s efforts to access her account.

According to the image, McEnany’s account was locked because the tech giant determined that her post violated Twitter’s rules against “distribution of hacked material.”

“We don’t permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets,” Twitter said in elaborating on that rule.

The tweet flagged by Twitter read: “**NEW** Email from Ukrainian executive to Hunter Biden asks Hunter to ‘use his influence’ on behalf of the firm paying him $50K/mo in email with subject ‘urgent issue’ obtained by @nypost Father @JoeBiden was in charge of Ukraine relations at time.!!”

Using her official government account, McEnany accused both Twitter and Facebook of censorship.

“Censorship should be condemned! cc: @Twitter & Facebook NOT the American way!!,” she wrote.

During an appearance on Fox News’s “Hannity” Wednesday evening, McEnany accused Twitter’s administrators of essentially holding her “at gunpoint” by denying her access to her own account.

“It’s not a temporary blockage,” McEnany told host Sean Hannity. “When I log on to my Twitter account,  it says I’m permanently banned. They essentially have me at gunpoint and said unless you delete this story, a news story by the New York Post, I cannot regain access to my account.”

The NYP article shared by McEnany centered on alleged documents and photographs obtained by the New York Post, which included an alleged email indicating that Hunter allegedly introduced his father, who was serving as the vice president, to a top Ukrainian natural gas executive at Hunter’s request. The Epoch Times has not independently verified the NYP’s claims.

The Biden campaign has refuted the report, saying it reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and that “no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”

“This was a news story with emails, pictures of the emails … even the Biden campaign does not dispute the authenticity of the emails,” McEnany told Hannity of the report. “Meanwhile … the ayatollah of Iran [is] tweeting ‘Death to Israel.’ This is permitted on Twitter but an email that is reported … by the New York Post, a credible outlet … you are not allowed share that information.”

Trump at a campaign rally in Iowa Wednesday said Twitter closed down McEnany’s account “because she’s reporting the truth.”

“They closed down her account. She’s the White House press secretary. Because she’s reporting the truth, they closed down her account. So let’s see what’s going to happen,” he said.

The NYP’s Twitter account and other users’ accounts were also locked by Twitter after they shared the article—a move which the company’s CEO Jack Dorsey himself branded as “unacceptable.”

The outlet’s account became inactive in the afternoon and continues to be inactive into the evening late Wednesday.

“Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable,” Dorsey wrote on Twitter late Wednesday.

Dorsey’s statement linked to a Twitter statement that detailed why the tech giant decided to block the article’s spread. The statement was released around the same time as Dorsey’s statement.

The Twitter statement said that the New York Post article violated the company’s rules on “private information” and “hacked materials.” The documents in question were allegedly copied by a computer repair shop owner and eventually given to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the FBI after a Macbook Pro bearing a sticker from the Beau Biden Foundation was dropped off for water damage and left unclaimed at the shop.

“We know we have more work to do to provide clarity in our product when we enforce our rules in this manner. We should provide additional clarity and context when preventing the Tweeting or DMing of URLs that violate our policies,” the company said. “We recognize that Twitter is just one of many places where people can find information online, and the Twitter Rules are intended to protect the conversation on our service, and to add context to people’s experience where we can.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) promptly responded to Dorsey’s Twitter post, calling Dorsey’s announcement “a joke” and “downright insulting.”

[email protected]@jack this is not nearly good enough. In fact, it’s a joke. It’s downright insulting,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will ask you – and @Facebook- to give an explanation UNDER OATH to the Senate subcommittee I chair. These are potential violations of election law, and that’s a crime.”

“This is outrageous,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wrote on Twitter. “@Twitter and Big Tech companies are trying to rig this election for Joe Biden and the Democrats.”

“They don’t want the American people to know the truth!”

Twitter “is out of control with protection of Joe Biden,” Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh wrote.

“If the story were about Trump, you know they’d let it go,” Murtaugh added.

“This is not the American way,” McEnany continued. “This is not how a freedom-loving democracy operates. We have to hold Twitter accountable, and Facebook too, who is banning the transmission of this story because ideologically it hurts the side of the aisle that Silicon Valley prefers.

“It’s sad, it’s censorship. This is not America.”

Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.


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