Twitter Crackdown on Hunter Biden Story Caused Massive Spike in Interest: Study


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Twitter’s crackdown on the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story caused a huge spike in interest in the report, according to researchers.

Zignal Labs found that the social network’s ban of links to the story “nearly doubled” its sharing by users, from about 5,500 shares every 15 minutes to about 10,000. The story had been shared more than 352,000 times between the time it was published on Wednesday and the weekend.

“Shares of the Post article “nearly doubled” after Twitter started suppressing it,” MIT Technology Review’s Abby Ohlheiser noted in a report on Zignal’s findings. “The poorly-thought-through ban triggered the so-called Streisand Effect and helped turn a sketchy article into a must-share blockbuster.”

The story also generated 2.59 million interactions between “likes,” comments and shares on Facebook and Twitter for the week of Oct. 12-19, according to NewsWhip data collected by Axios. Five of the 10 biggest stories on social media for the week were related to the Post’s report and the ensuing fallout, and it was the sixth-most-engaged article for the month.

Twitter and Facebook sought to limit the story’s spread by attaching warning labels to it, among other measures. Twitter went the furthest by temporarily blocking users from sharing the story even in private messages. The platform later reversed that measure.

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