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Twitter says it's changing policy after censorship of Biden scandal

Blocks links to NY Post story on Biden and Ukraine.

Posted: Oct 16, 2020 8:11 AM

(ASSOCIATED PRESS) - Twitter said late Thursday it was changing its policy on hacked content after an outcry about its handling of an political story that prompted cries of censorship from the right.

The social media company 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.

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.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that it was “unacceptable” the company hadn't provided 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.

The company said the link to the New York Post story will still be blocked under a policy prohibiting sharing personal information. However, users were widely sharing the story on Friday and it wasn’t clear why they were able to do so.

Facebook said it was “reducing” the story’s distribution on its platform while waiting for third-party 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.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
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Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
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Carver1080349
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Itasca463968
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McLeod436661
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Beltrami411863
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Becker390057
Lyon366454
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Todd289633
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
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Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
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Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
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Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
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Page195722
Cedar194323
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Wright191240
Hamilton189251
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Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
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Lyon161241
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