In the future, the platform will only block leaked content shared by hackers.

Twitter faced major criticism after barring access to a controversial article published by the New York Post. The platform justified its ban by citing its Hacked Materials policy, but that only complicated matters more.

Twitter Tweaks Hacked Materials Rules

Twitter Amends Its Hacked Materials Policy

After a New York Post article about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, went viral, Twitter restricted access to the story.

The highly controversial article claims to have obtained emails from Hunter’s private laptop. Many fact-checkers expressed concerns over the potentially false evidence presented in the article.

Since the article allegedly contains stolen emails from Hunter’s computer, Twitter decided to take action on the New York Post piece for violating its Hacked Materials policy.

Twitter’s move to block the article’s URL left users concerned over how the platform would respond to leaked material in the future. Its actions implied that Twitter would continue to ban hacked content presented by whistleblowers and investigative journalists.

To address these worries, Twitter decided to change the way it enforces its Hacked Materials rules. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s trust and safety lead sent out a series of Tweets describing the new changes.

Gadde noted that blocking hacked material could pose “many unintended consequences to journalists, whistleblowers and others in ways that are contrary to Twitter’s purpose of serving the public conversation.”

Twitter originally created the Hacked Materials policy in 2018 to “discourage and mitigate harms associated with hacks and unauthorized exposure of private information.” This is a valid policy, but Twitter will have to enforce it a bit differently from now on.

Gadde continued the thread, and explained the changes coming to Twitter’s response to hacked content. She stated that the platform will only remove hacked content that’s shared by an actual hacker. Twitter will also no longer block URLs—instead, it will add a descriptive label to that Tweet.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey also sent out a Tweet about the situation. He said that the “straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement” to address the issue.

Despite these changes, Twitter is still barring access to the New York Post article. Brandon Borrman, Twitter’s vice president of global communications sent out a Tweet saying that “the materials in the article still violate our rules on sharing personal private information.”

Twitter’s Private Information policy restricts users from “sharing someone’s private information online without their permission,” which is another rule that the New York Post article breaks.

Twitter’s Serious Response to Controversy

Twitter took notably swift action to tear down the disputed New York Post article. However, Twitter’s actions seemed to have backfired.

By trying to block out a URL, Twitter only drew more attention to the article and to its own actions. Going forward, Twitter should put more trust in its users to determine what they should and shouldn’t access on the web.

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