Speed Reads

on second thought

Twitter announces 'stunning policy reversal' after New York Post article block

Twitter after drawing criticism by blocking a story from the New York Post about former Vice President Joe Biden's son is making some key policy changes.

The company this week prevented users from tweeting an article with unconfirmed allegations about Biden and his son Hunter, which the outlet claimed was based on alleged emails purportedly obtained from a laptop dropped off at a repair shop and that ended up in the hands of President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani. Twitter said the article violated its hacked materials policy, which "prohibits the use of our service to distribute content obtained without authorization."

The step was controversial especially among Republicans including President Trump, and days later, Twitter's Vijaya Gadde has announced "we have decided to make changes" to this policy on hacked materials after "reflecting on" the "significant feedback." Now, Gadde said, Twitter will "no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them," and the company will also label tweets with these links to "provide context" rather than blocking them.

"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," Gadde said.

This was a "stunning policy reversal" from Twitter, The Washington Post wrote, although according to the Post, the Hunter Biden story in question will remain blocked by Twitter based on a different policy preventing private information from being shared.

Facebook had also taken action against the Hunter Biden story, saying it would reduce its distribution before it could be reviewed by fact-checkers. But Twitter's block drew far more criticism, and Senate Republicans subsequently announced they planned to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Dorsey earlier this week admitted the company's communication around the New York Post block was "not great."