A Twitter official announced Thursday night that Twitter will be making changes following the firestorm of backlash after it censored two bombshell New York Post stories.
The first story on Wednesday indicates that Hunter Biden monetized foreign companies’ access to Joe Biden while the latter was vice president. The second story alleges that Hunter pursued business deals with one of China’s largest energy companies in an attempt to cash in “for me and my family.”
Vijaya Gadde, the global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety at Twitter, claimed the company will be making “changes to the policy and how we enforce it” after Twitter began banning accounts that tweeted links to the stories, including members of Congress and from congressional servers.
Over the last 24 hours, we’ve received significant feedback (from critical to supportive) about how we enforced our Hacked Materials Policy yesterday. After reflecting on this feedback, we have decided to make changes to the policy and how we enforce it.
— Vijaya Gadde (@vijaya) October 16, 2020
Gadde claims Twitter will “no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them,” and it “will label Tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on Twitter.”
Gadde cited that the changes are being made because Twitter wants “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.”
Gadde explained that Twitter “put the Hacked Materials Policy in place back in 2018 to discourage and mitigate harms associated with hacks and unauthorized exposure of private information.” However, Gadde conceded that while they were trying to allegedly “find the right balance between people’s privacy and the right of free expression,” Twitter “can do better.”
“We’ve recently added new product capabilities, such as labels to provide people with additional context,” claimed Gadde. “We are no longer limited to Tweet removal as an enforcement action.”
It appears that Twitter will still be censoring certain material by “labeling them,” as Twitter and other big tech companies have routinely done in the past. “We believe that labeling Tweets and empowering people to assess content for themselves better serves the public interest and public conversation,” wrote Gadde. “The Hacked Material Policy is being updated to reflect these new enforcement capabilities.”
“All the other Twitter Rules will still apply to the posting of or linking to hacked materials, such as our rules against posting private information, synthetic and manipulated media, and non-consensual nudity,” wrote Gadde.
Gadde closed her thread stating: “I’m grateful for everyone who has provided feedback and insights over the past day. Content moderation is incredibly difficult, especially in the critical context of an election. We are trying to act responsibly & quickly to prevent harms, but we’re still learning along the way. We will continue to keep you all updated on our progress and more details as we update our policy pages to reflect these changes in the coming days.”
The breaking news comes after Twitter suspended the Trump campaign’s account, locked White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany’s personal account, suspended the New York Post’s Twitter account, and suppressed an official press release from House Judiciary Committee Republicans and others — all of whom were sharing the breaking New York Post story.
Sen. Ted Cruz announced the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Tuesday to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and that he will testify next Friday.
Sen. @tedcruz: "Twitter is actively blocking, right now this instant, stories from the New York Post…on Tuesday, the Judiciary Committee, the full committee, will be voting on subpoenas to subpoena @Jack Dorsey to come before our committee." pic.twitter.com/lfpEcH8xeQ
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 15, 2020