On the heels of the New York Post censorship scandal, Twitter has reversed its Hacked Materials Policy "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."
This comes after a partisan crackdown of Twitter's Hacked Materials Policy locked out prominent conservatives from sharing the New York Post's Hunter Biden report that potentially incriminated the elder Biden and Democratic presidential nominee. Attempts to link the story, both privately and publicly, were met with a a chasticizing error message: “Your Tweet couldn’t be sent because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful. Visit our Help Center to learn more.”
"Over the last 24 hours, we’ve received significant feedback (from critical to supportive) about how we enforced our Hacked Materials Policy yesterday," tweeted Vijaya Gadde, the legal, policy and trust and safety lead at Twitter. "After reflecting on this feedback, we have decided to make changes to the policy and how we enforce it."
Gadde explained Twitter's backtracking "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 representative went on to outline Twitter's policy against "distribution of hacked material," which was instilled in 2018 to "discourage and mitigate harms associated with hacks and unauthorized exposure of private information."
"We tried to find the right balance between people’s privacy and the right of free expression, but we can do better," Gadde continued, describing the recently-added product capabilities, "such as labels to provide people with additional context" and "enforcement action" beyond tweet removal. "We believe that labeling Tweets and empowering people to assess content for themselves better serves the public interest and public conversation."
So what's changing? Twitter will no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert, the platform purports. Additionally, Gadde reiterated, the site will label tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being circulated.
One America News Network's Jack Posobiec—who himself was locked out of his Twitter account for sharing Hunter Biden memes—questioned, "How do you verify what content is hacked and what isn’t? Steve Scully falsely claimed his Twitter was hacked just this week."
On Thursday, C-SPAN suspended the political editor "indefinitely" after confessing that he had lied about the hack. The Commission on Presidential Debates-appointed moderator, who was set to facilitate the since-cancelled presidential debate on the very same day as his suspension, was shamed after a controversial tweet alleged that he had reached out to Anthony Scaramucci for advice about confronting President Donald Trump.
"I’m grateful for everyone who has provided feedback and insights over the past day. Content moderation is incredibly difficult, especially in the critical context of an election. We are trying to act responsibly & quickly to prevent harms, but we’re still learning along the way," Gadde concluded. "We will continue to keep you all updated on our progress and more details as we update our policy pages to reflect these changes in the coming days."
But many have noted that the problem is not with the rules, but the selective application of them. There stands no evidence of "hacking" in the Biden bombshell despite Twitter's baseless claim.
The laptop containing the leaked Ukraine emails was legally obtained by the computer repair store owner in Biden’s home state of Delaware when the dropped-off device was abandoned and the bill was never paid. The New York Post reported that the individual who delivered the Apple laptop, presumably Hunter Biden given the Apple product sported a Beau Biden Foundation sticker, failed to return.
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