Policy curbing hacked data softened after Biden son row
Twitter has softened its policies against the sharing of hacked material after its decision to block a New York Post story about Joe Biden’s son prompted anger.
Republican senators declared their intention to subpoena the Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, next week, forcing him to explain the decision, after he apologised for the lack of communication about the blocking.
The story, supposedly based on materials stolen from Hunter Biden’s laptop by a computer repair shop, was blocked by Twitter on two grounds, the company said. First, it contained personal information such as private email addresses; and second, it contained hacked material, violating a policy instituted in 2018 to try to limit “hack-and-leak” operations of the sort run by the Russian state in 2016.
Changes would be made to the latter policy, Twitter’s legal, policy and safety chief, Vijaya Gadde, said late on Thursday. “We will no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them,” Gadde tweeted. “We will label tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on Twitter.”
The policy against hacked materials had led to concern, beyond Republican politicians and activists, that Twitter could penalise reporting related to hacks, limiting legitimate journalism, 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.”
The account of Donald Trump’s reelection campaign was also briefly restricted on Thursday, causing an outcry from Republican legislators who accused social media companies of acting like “speech police”.
Twitter temporarily blocked the @TeamTrump account from sending tweets after it posted a video referring to the Post story.
▲ Twitter had blocked the New York Post article about Hunter Biden