In a heated debate, less than three weeks before the presidential election, Twitter made a turnaround in its handling of hacked data.
The company previously decided to block a link to an article in the New York Post about Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate Joe Biden. After criticism, the company adjusts this policy on dealing with hacked material.
In the article, the tabloid claims there is compelling evidence that son Hunter put his father in touch with a top executive of a Ukrainian energy company Hunter Biden worked for. Joe Biden has always denied interfering with his son’s work. The allegation is that the former vice president abused his power at the time to stop an investigation into fraud at the energy company to protect his son. However, there is no evidence for this.
The authenticity and origin of the mails from New York Post were immediately disputed, including by a disinformation investigator Thomas Rid on Twitter.
‘Lots of feedback’
Twitter returned from its course earlier today. “We have had a lot of feedback in the last 24 hours. We have considered and decided to adjust our policy”, says Twitter’s head of policy Vijya Gadde.
The moment someone on Twitter shares a message whose content comes from a hack, it will no longer be removed by the platform. Instead, the platform will comment on it to provide context.
Excluded are messages that are directly shared by the hackers or people who work with them. How Twitter will determine this is as yet unclear.
The “feedback” came in the form of, among other things, a storm of criticism from Republican quarters. Several politicians have criticized the decision to block the link and the Senate Justice Committee wants to hear Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey next Friday.
There are exceptions to the change of course. For example, links that lead to private information are still banned. Twitter’s head of communications has confirmed This means that the link to the New York Post article will therefore remain blocked, because the images contain e-mail addresses with the articles.
However, a test by the NOS shows that a story posted on October 14 can be shared and a story from a day later cannot. The NOS has asked Twitter for clarification.