The owner of a computer repair shop – the central character of a much debated recent New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop – has filed a lawsuit against Twitter for defamation, insisting that its content moderation software had falsely flagged him as a hacker, The Verge reported. John Paul Mac Isaac is demanding $500 million in compensation and a public admittance of wrongdoing from the major social networking site.
The New York Post reported in October that it had obtained emails allegedly retrieved from the younger Biden’s laptop, which had been handed in for repair, but when the story was published, Facebook and Twitter restricted the article’s reach, with Twitter explaining the move as being due to a ban on posting “hacked materials”.
Entrepreneur Mac Isaac isn’t complaining about Twitter removing content – something that is protected by the First Amendment – nor is he claiming other people defamed him through the social network he is suing.
He reportedly says the social media platform purposefully made the decision to “communicate to the world that [Mac Isaac] is a hacker”, complaining about his business now receiving threats and negative feedback online – something he attributes to Twitter’s moderation move. Because of this supposedly defamatory act, he is now “widely considered a hacker”, he laments. The complaint cites a string of business reviews that allegedly call him out based on the details from the Post story, although it is not immediately clear why Twitter should be held accountable for the feedback. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The reported emails hit the headlines two months ago, raising questions about Hunter’s dealings with Chinese and Ukrainian businesses, with the latter purportedly happening when he was a member of the board of the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma. The Post said it indirectly took possession of the files via Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s attorney, who had in turn obtained the hard drive with them from Mac Isaac, which the entrepreneur confirmed.
The trove of leaked messages is said to have hinted that his father, Joe Biden, was likewise involved in his son's business affairs, although the president-elect has denied the notion.
Separately, The New York Post story prompted scrutiny over Hunter’s taxes, with the incoming president’s son expressing “confidence that professional and objective review” of his financial dealings will indicate that he had “handled the affairs legally and appropriately, including with the benefit of professional tax advisors”.