03:26 GMT28 November 2020
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    Allegations regarding corrupt business dealings surrounding Joe Biden's son, Hunter, in Ukraine, have circulated on social media in recent weeks. Due to the unconfirmed nature of the story, social media giants have restricted its availability.

    Mike Pompeo in a Monday interview with the Washington Examiner, suggested that Twitter's "non-viewpoint-neutral" position on global events was "dangerous".

    The interview with the US secretary of state, the central point of which was the signing of a peace treaty between Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel, pivoted to a story of corruption allegations involving Hunter Biden that were published by the New York Post and blocked by Twitter.

    “This is dangerous. It is dangerous when a powerful force like the communications tool which is Twitter adopts a non-viewpoint-neutral view of the world", Pompeo said.

    The Trump-appointed foreign policy chief then praised social media companies for removing posts by terrorists, in cooperation with the US government, and stated that the tech companies cannot “allow disinformation.”

    “They have to make a choice. Either it's going to be viewpoint neutral, they can let a thousand flowers bloom, or they're going to make a different decision,” said Pompeo. “And that decision can't be based on whether it is supportive of this administration or attempting to undermine America. That's just inappropriate".

    The allegations of controversy, surrounding the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, emerged from a story in the New York Post concerning Hunter Biden emails that were claimed to have been acquired from his laptop while it was in a repair shop in the US state of Delaware.

    The emails allege that Biden discussed business dealings in Ukraine with his father. While Twitter later reversed its decision to restrict the story, social media giant Facebook maintained the decision to prevent the availability of the article as the claims have not been confirmed by the FBI or any other authority.

    This is not the first time that Twitter has been criticised for clamping down on "misleading" material surrounding the 2020 US presidential election campaign.

    U.S. President Donald Trump taps the screen on a mobile phone at the approximate time a tweet was released from his Twitter account, during a roundtable discussion on the reopening of small businesses in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2020
    © REUTERS / LEAH MILLIS
    U.S. President Donald Trump taps the screen on a mobile phone at the approximate time a tweet was released from his Twitter account, during a roundtable discussion on the reopening of small businesses in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., June 18, 2020

    Last month, Twitter removed a tweet by White House coronavirus task force member Scott Atlas that had suggested that masks do not work in curbing the spread of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

    In March, the social media company placed a warning caption on one of President Donald Trump’s tweets, in an unprecedented move, labeling the post “potentially misleading information about voting processes".

    Trump in May announced an executive order that he claimed was aimed at preventing online censorship. Despite Trump's move, Twitter strengthened anti-misinformation restrictions, clamping down on false information around the coronavirus pandemic and the November election.

    As a private company, Twitter can limit the activities of individual users. Like individuals, firms are protected under the First Amendment and have the right to block people and entities on their platforms.

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    Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Mike Pompeo
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