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Trump's claims about Hunter Biden are inflicting on-line exercise to skyrocket

In Thursday's presidential debate, President Trump made several misleading claims about the business relationships of his opponent's family, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr Trump suggested with no evidence that Mr Biden had consulted his son Hunter Biden to help in the younger Biden's business. Mr Trump also said that Mr Biden used his influence during his tenure as Vice President to help his son close lucrative deals. Both claims were misleading.

However, the comments drew attention to Hunter Biden and his work during and after the debate, according to a New York Times analysis of Google searches and Facebook posts.

According to Google Trends data, searches for "Hunter Biden" on Google more than tripled during the debate compared to before the event. Facebook posts about Hunter Biden have also seen an increase, according to data from CrowdTangle, a social media analytics tool operated by Facebook.

Nearly 70,000 new Facebook posts surfaced following the debate that made "false, unproven, or misleading claims" about Hunter Biden's business interactions, said Avaaz, a progressive human rights organization that investigates misinformation. The majority of the posts came from Facebook Pages that have been repeatedly flagged for making false or misleading claims, Avaaz said.

A Facebook spokeswoman said the company's external fact-checkers assessed and debunk several claims related to Hunter Biden.

Mr Trump's comments during last month's presidential debate also resulted in an increase in internet traffic. After he said the Proud Boys, a right-wing extremist group that advocates violence, should "step back and stand by", searches for the group spiked, as did posts about them on Twitter and Facebook.

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