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Twitter changes hacked material policy after Biden article row

Twitter changes hacked material policy after Biden article row
October 16
15:36 2020

SAN FRANSISCO: Facing backlash over blocking a New York Post article criticising Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son, Twitter has now decided to make changes to its hacked materials policy.

Twitter introduced the “Hacked Materials Policy” back in 2018 to discourage and mitigate harms associated with hacks and unauthorised exposure of private information.

After the New York Post published a series of stories on Wednesday citing emails, purportedly sent by Biden’s son, Twitter blocked users from posting pictures of the emails or links to two of the New York Post’s stories, citing its rules against sharing “content obtained through hacking that contains private information.”

But now Twitter wants to change this policy because it thinks that there could be many unintended consequences to journalists, whistleblowers and others in ways “that are contrary to Twitter’s purpose of serving the public conversation.”

“Over the last 24 hours, we’ve received significant feedback (from critical to supportive) about how we enforced our Hacked Materials Policy yesterday, After reflecting on this feedback, we have decided to make changes to the policy and how we enforce it,” Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead at Twitter said in a series of tweets on Thursday.

“We believe that labeling Tweets and empowering people to assess content for themselves better serves the public interest and public conversation. The Hacked Material Policy is being updated to reflect these new enforcement capabilities,” she said.

However, Twitter is still blocking a New York Post article criticising Biden under the other reason it had cited on Wednesday. Twitter said that the “images contained in the articles include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules”.

Facebook also limited the spread of the story, saying the story had made unverified claims about Hunter Biden’s Ukraine business and therefore the story was eligible for third-party fact-checking.

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