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Twitter revises guidelines for posting hacked material based on Hunter Biden’s story


Twitter has revised its guidelines for posting hacked material.

Angela Lang / CNET

Twitter announced late Thursday a revised policy for posting content acquired through a hack the day after the social network came under attack Limiting the reach of a New York Post article about Joe Biden’s son because it was based on hacked materials.

The Post’s story was based on emails allegedly from a laptop Hunter Biden left at a Delaware repair shop in 2019. However, Twitter limited the scope of the article and referred to a policy against the distribution of hacked material. The move led to allegations of censorship by Twitter.

Twitter said it will no longer remove posts with hacked material unless shared by the hackers or others who work with them. It is also said to mark the tweets as context instead of preventing them from being shared on the platform.

The changes are intended to “allay concerns that journalists, whistleblowers and others could have many unintended consequences that are counter to Twitter’s purpose of public conversation,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s chief legal officer, said on a series of Tweets on Thursday evening.

The new policy is a kind of U-turn for Twitter, which on Wednesday cited its policy against the distribution of hacked material when it decided to block links or images of the New York Post story suggesting a link between Hunter Biden and a Ukrainian let energy manager.

Twitter also said that the New York Post article contained images that contained personal and private information such as email addresses and phone numbers, which is against the social network’s rules.

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Twitter’s move earlier this week to lessen the spread of a story critical of the Democratic presidential candidate’s son raised questions about how social networks review political content and attract criticism from Republicans and the Trump campaign, which the social networks accused of meddling in the coming election. Conservatives have long claimed that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites censor their speech, an accusation that the companies have repeatedly denied.

Earlier Thursday, Senate Republicans said they wanted to summon Jack Dorsey and asked the Twitter CEO to testify on October 23 about the platform’s decision to block the New York Post article.

“We have never seen active censorship of a major press release with serious corruption allegations by one of the two presidential candidates,” Senator Ted Cruz said Thursday during a press conference on Thursday.

Twitter declined to comment on the allegation.

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