Twit­ter CEO now says it was wrong to block links to crit­i­cal Bi­den story

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - NATION | WORLD - BY KELVIN CHAN As­so­ci­ated Press

Twit­ter was wrong to block we­blinks to a po­lit­i­cal story dam­ag­ing to for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, CEO Jack Dorsey said, as the com­pany re­sponded to crit­i­cism over its han­dling of the story that had prompted cries of cen­sor­ship.

“Straight block­ing of URLs was wrong, and we up­dated our pol­icy and en­force­ment to fix,” he tweeted. “Our goal is to at­tempt to add con­text, and now we have ca­pa­bil­i­ties to do that.”

Af­ter ini­tially block­ing peo­ple from shar­ing links to the story Wed­nes­day, on Fri­day Twit­ter was let­ting its users to post the link. It served as demon­stra­tion of how quickly things can change when it comes to so­cial me­dia, mis­in­for­ma­tion and the com­ing U.S. elec­tion as com­pa­nies try to nav­i­gate un­prece­dented times.

Dorsey was weigh­ing in af­ter an ex­ec­u­tive at the so­cial me­dia com­pany an­nounced changes late Thurs­day to its pol­icy on hacked con­tent fol­low­ing an on­slaught of crit­i­cism.

Twit­ter will no longer re­move hacked ma­te­rial un­less it’s di­rectly shared by hack­ers or those work­ing with them, the com­pany’s head of le­gal, pol­icy, trust and safety, Vi­jaya Gadde, said in a Twit­ter thread.

And in­stead of block­ing links from be­ing shared, tweets will be la­beled to pro­vide con­text, Gadde said.

“We want 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,” she said.

Twit­ter and Face­book had moved quickly this week to limit the spread of the story pub­lished by the con­ser­va­tive-lean­ing New York Post, which cited un­ver­i­fied emails from Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Joe Bi­den’s son that were re­port­edly dis­cov­ered by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s al­lies. The story has not been con­firmed by other pub­li­ca­tions.

San Fran­cisco-based Twit­ter ini­tially re­sponded by ban­ning users from shar­ing links to the ar­ti­cle in tweets and di­rect mes­sages be­cause it vi­o­lated the com­pany’s pol­icy pro­hibit­ing hacked con­tent.

But it didn’t alert users about why they couldn’t share the link un­til hours later.

But by Fri­day, peo­ple were free to post the links again. Twit­ter said that was be­cause the “once-pri­vate“in­for­ma­tion in the ar­ti­cle is now “widely avail­able“in the press and on other plat­forms.

Dorsey had first tweeted that it was “un­ac­cept­able” the com­pany hadn’t provid­who dared to put Muham­mad down.”

Ri­card said the sus­pect had been seen at the school ask­ing stu­dents about the teacher, and the head­mas­ter had re­ceived sev­eral threat­en­ing phone calls.

Mourn­ers marched near ed more con­text around its ac­tion. A lit­tle over 24 hours later, Gadde an­nounced the com­pany was mak­ing changes af­ter re­ceiv­ing “sig­nif­i­cant feed­back (from crit­i­cal to sup­port­ive)“about how it en­forced the pol­icy.

Face­book said it was “re­duc­ing” the story’s dis­tri­bu­tion on its plat­form while wait­ing for third­party fact-check­ers to ver­ify it, some­thing it reg­u­larly does with ma­te­rial that’s not banned out­right from its ser­vice, though it risks spread­ing lies or caus­ing harm in other ways.

Trump is now in­cor­po­rat­ing Twit­ter’s ac­tion into his cam­paign ral­lies, plead­ing with his sup­port­ers to send a mes­sage on Elec­tion Day to what he de­scribed as “cen­sors.”

“We’re not just run­ning against Joe Bi­den. We’re run­ning against left-wing me­dia and we’re run­ning against big tech,” Trump said. the school in sol­i­dar­ity Satur­day, hold­ing signs that read “I am a teacher.” “We’ll pick our­selves up to­gether, thanks to our spirit of sol­i­dar­ity,” said Lau­rent Brosse, mayor of Con­flan­sSainte-Honorine.

SIEGFRIED MODOLA Getty Im­ages

Lo­cals gather at the Col­lege Bois d’Aulne mid­dle-school the day af­ter one of the teach­ers was found de­cap­i­tated af­ter show­ing car­i­ca­tures of the prophet Mo­hamed on in Con­flans-Sainte-Honorine, France.

Bi­den

Dorsey

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