Twitter has banned users from sharing links to images said to be Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden's son Hunter engaged in sex and drug use.
GTV Media Group, a company reportedly founded by Breitbart News editor Steve Bannon and fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui, posted the images on Sunday under the byline 'Gundam0078'.
The images are purported to show Biden nude, masturbating, having sex with young women and using drugs.
Twitter users who posted the links, or even reports of them, quickly had them taken down by site moderators, saying they violated its "Community Standards on adult sexual exploitation".
— TundraTabloids (@TundraTabloids) October 25, 2020
Pro-Republican news site the Gateway Pundit said Twitter suspended its account for 12 hours after reposting the links. Founder and editor Jim Hoft stressed that Twitter had allowed British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen to post videos of his apparent honey-trap prank on US President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
"This isn’t bias. This is electioneering," Hoft wrote. "Just three days earlier Twitter allowed the Rudy-Borat tape to go viral! This is nothing but electioneering by Twitter and Facebook."
Guo fled his native China for the US in 2014 after learning he was about to be charged with bribery and fraud as part of a major government crackdown on graft. Currently under arrest, Bannon is a former special advisor to Trump whose website Breitbart News is unapologetic in its support for the president.
Joe Biden's campaign for the presidency has been hit by revelations first published by the New York Post, of a laptop alleged to contain emails implicating his son Hunter in peddling political influence in Ukraine and China. Giuliani has been central to publicising the contents of the alleged laptop that was in FBI custody last year, including claims that it contains indecent images of underage girls.
Twitter and Facebook moved quickly to block users from links to the NY Post story, even suspending the account of White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany.
Twitter and Facebook later lifted the ban on the story after their actions attracted major media attention, but the NY Post Twitter account remains blocked, with no new posts since October 14.
On Thursday the GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-0 to subpoena Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify on their "suppression and/or censorship of articles from the New York Post".