Twitter changes policy on hacked materials — but links to N.Y. Post story still blocked


Twitter announced late Thursday it’s changing its policies against posting hacked materials after facing widespread backlash for its handling of unverified reporting by the New York Post about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son.

But the platform said it will continue to block users from posting links to the Post’s recent reporting on the matter for violating other rules against sharing private personal information.

What’s changing: The platform will no longer remove hacked content from the platform “unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them,” Twitter executive and safety lead Vijaya Gadde said in a tweet thread Thursday night. And the company will add labels with context to such posts instead of blocking users from sharing them, she said.

Gadde said the company is making the changes “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 background: Twitter has faced an avalanche of criticism from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies for restricting users from sharing the Post articles, which allege direct ties between Biden and his son Hunter’s overseas business interests. Twitter said Wednesday it blocked users from sharing the articles because they violated the company’s policies against sharing hacked materials and publishing private personal information. The articles contain images with email addresses listed.

NBC News reported Thursday that federal investigators are looking into whether the emails detailed in the report are linked to a foreign intelligence operation.

What it means for the Post: Twitter spokesperson Brandon Borrman said late Thursday in a tweet that users will still be blocked from posting links to the Post reports due to their violation of its rules on sharing private personal information.

Borrman said in a separate missive that the updated policy is “not in place yet,” but will be “in the coming days.”

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