Twitter Reverses ‘Wrong’ Policy on Hacked Materials After NY Post Story Was Blocked

Platform will now add warning labels to “provide context” to stories, rather than blocking stories from being shared

Last Updated: October 16, 2020 @ 11:46 AM

Twitter has changed its hacked materials policy, with CEO Jack Dorsey on Friday saying its prior standards, which led to the censorship of a New York Post story on Hunter Biden, Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s son, were “wrong.”

Moving forward, Twitter will not block content that may contained hacked content unless it’s being directly shared by hackers or people “acting in concert with them,” Twitter policy executive Vijaya Gadde tweeted late on Thursday. The platform will also add warning labels to “provide context,” rather than blocking stories from being shared altogether.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey followed up on the changes on Friday, saying the company’s handling of the New York Post story was off. “Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that,” Dorsey said.

The reversal comes after Twitter blocked users from sharing a New York Post report on Wednesday that said Hunter Biden introduced his dad, former Vice President and current Democratic nominee Joe Biden, to a “top executive” at a Ukrainian energy company, before pressuring Ukrainian lawmakers to fire a prosecutor looking into the company a year later.

When users went to share the story link on Twitter, they were greeted with a warning label saying the story is “potentially harmful” and unable to be posted.

To explain the decision, Twitter pointed to its hacked materials policy, which said users cannot “directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information.” As many pointed out afterwards, the policy, if applied consistently, would appear to make a number of investigative reporting stories unfit to share on Twitter.

On Thursday, Twitter locked the Trump campaign’s account, which has 2.2 million followers, after sharing a video calling Joe Biden a “liar” and referencing the New York Post report — hours after Twitter locked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s account as well.

“This is election interference, plain and simple,” Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, told TheWrap. “For Twitter to lock the main account of the campaign of the president of the United States is a breathtaking level of political meddling and nothing short of an attempt to rig the election.”

Coincidentally or not, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday said the commission would review Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the broad legal shield that gives tech giants like Facebook and Twitter the ability to censor or moderate content. You can read more by clicking here.