Facebook say on wednesday it would reduce the spread of a New York Post story that posted unverified claims about former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, waiting for partners to check the site’s reality. consider.
But for more than a year, the social network laid the groundwork for a shady Ukrainian group of agents – including one that was punished by the US Treasury Department and regarded as “active Russian agents” trying try to interfere in the 2020 election – to spread a conspiracy that is unfounded or exploited. Biden family theory.
These Ukrainians are key to helping Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani in his attempt to smear young women and help President Donald Trump win re-election. Along the way, they have garnered more than 200,000 followers and friends on Facebook, in part due to their popularity among US presidential supporters who see them as the source of the allegations. Related to Biden.
And when the New York Post story was published, the group celebrated on Facebook by spreading unconfirmed information about Bidens again.
Facebook did not immediately respond to questions about Ukraine’s posts.
Front and center on the three men’s personal Facebook pages – Andriy Telizhenko, Oleksandr Onyshchenko and Andriy Derkach – are posts on the New York Post’s story. While they did not share a direct link to the story, they did share links to story reports or photos of the story.
Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian foreign official and longtime Giuliani’s associates, was once the primary source of dirt for Bidens, published image Trump holding up a copy of Wednesday’s edition of the New York Post with the headline, “Biden’s Secret E-mail”.
Two hours later, Telizhenko posted a link to a pro-Trump blog post about another New York Post story, written in English, “The Senate Committee investigates Hunter Biden’s newly discovered emails.” And just overnight, he published one third post with another link to an article related to the Post’s report.
The posts were shared 5, 14, and 2 times, with 36, 13, and 7 likes, respectively at the time of publication, with comparable engagement with previous Telizhenko posts.
Onyshchenko, another Giuliani associate and a former Ukrainian congressman in the now defunct pro-Russian Regions Party, is now a fugitive for alleged embezzlement of more than $ 120 million from a gas company. Ukraine, also posted About the story.
Summarizing the report in Russian, Onyshchenko’s post was shared 22 times and received 145+ likes, the number of engagements – if not a bit higher – compared to his usual posts. that.
Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s Congress, whom the US Treasury Department punished last month and called “a Russian agent active for more than a decade, maintaining close relations with the Russian Intelligence Agency,” posted in Russian about the unconfirmed allegations he previously made about girls after the New York Post story was published.
He told BuzzFeed News from Kyiv on Wednesday that he had nothing to do with the New York Post story but was happy to read it. He said that he believed the report bolstered his own unfounded allegations against Bidens. He also directed BuzzFeed News to a recent video he shared on his social media platforms, including Facebook.
Derkach has met Giuliani at least three times, incl in Kyiv last December, when he passed documents from the former mayor of New York City that two men claimed to indicate the corruption of young women. A Facebook post From that meeting, which included three photos of two men together at a hotel in Kyiv that were shared 118 times, commented 38 times, and 550 likes.
Facebook is Derkach’s primary platform for sharing content about leaked recordings and purposeful edits coming from chats that Biden had while serving as vice president with former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. US officials have labeled the recordings as misinformation, and Operation Biden said they were part of Russia’s campaign to interfere in the election and help Trump.
The recordings, never authenticated, provide no evidence against Biden’s abuse of his power to benefit his son’s business interests in Ukraine.
Seven out of the last nine videos posted Derkach’s Facebook page over the past five weeks to talk about Biden-Poroshenko recordings and related documents. Collectively, they have been viewed more than 83,000 times. Four of them showed his appearances on pro-Russian Ukrainian TV channels affiliated with Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian lawmaker a close friend of President Vladimir Putin.
Nina Jankowicz, a misinformation researcher at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson International Scholar Center, told BuzzFeed News she thinks Facebook may have curbed the spread of the story in the paper. New York Post because of concerns that the information contained therein was illegally obtained.
“It would be harder for them to take the same action with some of the other narratives that were filmed as part of the Biden-Ukraine plot, as they did not handle illegal material or violations directly. about the terms of service, “she said.
But Derkach’s recordings are possible. A Ukraine investigation into their origins was kicked off earlier this year. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said in September that her office is also reviewing whether they will be modified, Interfax-Ukraine news agency report.