New York Post Hits Facebook for Hiring Censors from China After Social Media Companies Block Report on Hunter Biden

Facebook Hector Retamal/Getty Images

Hector Retamal/, Getty Images

Facebook hired at least six Chinese nationals to help with improving its censorship algorithms, according to a new report.

The group, which is part of Facebook’s Hate-Speech Engineering team, seeks to implement machine-learning methods to censor content Facebook deems objectionable, and was exposed by an internal directory described by The New York Post on Wednesday. At least one of the six employees previously worked for the state-backed Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei.

The Post has been the subject of censorship by tech platforms including Facebook and Twitter since it published an Oct. 14 report about documents allegedly obtained from a laptop belonging to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Facebook has affixed warning labels to the story that warn users against believing in it. Twitter went even further with the unprecedented step of locking the Post out of its account on the platform — the first time the company has prohibited a major publisher from using the site.

In addition to concerns about censorship, China’s theft of technology and intellectual property from countries around the world has been a source of international consternation in recent years. FBI Director Christopher Wray disclosed in February that the bureau had 1,000 investigations open related to China’s theft of technology from the United States and said “no country” posed “a greater threat than Communist China.”

Experts say much of that espionage has been driven by private citizens. The Washington, D.C.-based Center for Strategic & International Studies found that 36 percent of China’s espionage cases in the United States between 2000 and 2019 involved private Chinese citizens. Nearly half — 46 percent — involved commercial technology. Another 36 percent involved military technology.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson denied the employees influence company policies, saying, “We are a stronger company because our employees come from all over the world. Our standards and policies are public, including about our third-party fact-checking program, and designed to apply equally to content across the political spectrum. With over 35,000 people working on safety and security issues at Facebook, the insinuation that these employees have an outsized influence on our broader policies or technology is absurd.”

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