Twitter CEO Admits Blocking NY Post Stories Was Wrong, Changes Hacked-Content Policy
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, facing Republican wrath over the company’s blocking of tweets linking to New York Post articles on Hunter Biden, admitted Twitter’s handling of the situation was “wrong” and said the social network has updated its policies to do better.
“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix,” Dorsey tweeted Friday. “Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that.”
The firestorm whipped up Wednesday after Twitter prevented users from tweeting a disputed New York Post article about Hunter Biden. The Post story, based on information provided by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that was harvested from a laptop abandoned in Delaware computer-repair shop, alleged that Hunter influenced his father, Joe Biden, into putting pressure on Ukraine officials to fire a prosecutor probing the energy firm for which Hunter was a board member. Twitter also blocked a Post story Thursday claiming Hunter “tried to cash in big on behalf of family with Chinese firm.”
Twitter’s squelching of the Biden stories infuriated GOP lawmakers and prompted the Senate Judiciary Committee to announce that it will subpoena Dorsey next week to testify Oct. 23 before the committee about the issue.
Twitter said tweets with links to the Post’s articles ran afoul of its policy against sharing hacked materials. But late Thursday, Twitter announced that it will make changes to that policy and its enforcement.
Under Twitter’s revised policy, it will no longer remove hacked content “unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s head of legal, policy and trust, and safety, wrote in a thread.
In addition, Twitter said it will label tweets linking to hacked material “to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on Twitter,” she added.
The company is making the changes, according to Gadde, to “address the concerns 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.”
The purpose of the Hacked Materials Policy, adopted in 2018, was to discourage and mitigate harms associated with hacks and “unauthorized exposure of private information,” Gadde wrote. “We tried to find the right balance between people’s privacy and the right of free expression, but we can do better.”
As of Friday, Twitter was allowing users to post the Post’s story Wednesday about Hunter Biden’s alleged misdeeds involving Ukrainian energy company Burisma but Twitter was still blocking tweets to the second Post piece about Hunter’s alleged actions in China.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported Thursday that in 2019, U.S. intelligence agencies had warned the White House that Giuliani was the target of a Russian operation to funnel misinformation to Trump.
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