Twitter Abruptly Changes Hacked-Materials Policy After Blocking Biden Story

from ars technica

Twitter has changed its policy on sharing hacked materials after facing criticism of its decision to block users from tweeting links to a New York Post article that contained Hunter Biden emails allegedly retrieved from a computer left at a repair shop.

On Wednesday, Twitter said it blocked links to the Post story because it included private information and violated Twitter’s hacked materials policy, which prohibits sharing links to or images of hacked content. But on late Thursday night, Twitter legal executive Vijaya Gadde wrote in a thread that the company has “decided to make changes to the [hacked materials] policy and how we enforce it” after receiving “significant feedback.”

Twitter enacted the policy in 2018 “to discourage and mitigate harms associated with hacks and unauthorized exposure of private information,” Gadde wrote. “We tried to find the right balance between people’s privacy and the right of free expression, but we can do better.” Twitter will thus change its hacked materials policy to “no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them.” Twitter will also “label Tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on Twitter.”

Twitter spokesperson Brandon Borrman wrote that the Post article is still blocked because “the materials in the article still violate our rules on sharing personal private information.” However, I was able to tweet a link to the Post story today and the block appears to be lifted.

More here.

Posted in Social Media and tagged , , .


  1. Twitters algorithms for censoring posts, and many other social media outlets are not efficient enough to provide valid enforcement of the terms of service that they are behind. Many social media stars complain about unjust censorship because the algorithm picked up something it didn’t like, and now Twitter is adding more parameters to this. They need to be loosening the parameters back to what it used to be so people can freely express themselves on their platforms in my opinion. I personally think that Twitter censoring hacked content is silly, especially if they aren’t censoring hackers that have the initial malicious intent to do the hacking. I think if Twitter wants to block hacked links they should do an app-wide ban on all hacked links including those from hackers. This should be what is happening because hackers can leak explicit images or cause acts or digital crime and I don’t think that they should be allowed to share their hackings to social media because it would most likely be to cause harm to someone or something. An example of hackers getting to Twitter like lizard squad, and they announce that they have taken down the Playstation servers or something. I feel confused slightly on where I stand in regards to this topic, though. Because I guess in some ways hackers announcing what they have done is like hacker news and it is seen by millions of people. In that case, people would know that their internet outage was caused by lizard squad. But, why are people who retweet these messages or post links to similar hacked/ leaked content being censored? If it goes against Twitters terms of service why is it allowed to be announced from the source and why is that not considered to be against the TOS. Over time big media outlets alter their platforms to be what they call safer when I think it is unjust censorship and that people should be able to retweet hacked links and other hacked content when it is leaked by a hacker.

  2. Twitter and other similar social media entities have become the primary way through which people communicate and discuss topics like politics and current events. The President of the United States, as well as many other major world leaders use Twitter to communicate with the rest of the world. This reality means that Twitter’s company policies have a large impact on the nation and its viewpoints as a whole. Twitter’s legal executive Vijaya Gadde was quoted as saying “We tried to find the right balance between people’s privacy and the right to free expression, but we can do better.” The question I keep coming back to with stories like this is what gives Twitter the right to make these major decisions? Much of our legal system is designed with the assumption that our government is the highest authority in terms of speech and our basic rights but many of those assumptions have been undermined in recent years. The decision to stop users from tweeting links to news articles containing Hunter Biden clearly carries has some political consequences in terms of how this story gets exposed and to what degree people are actually exposed to it. Additionally, networks like Twitter can alter how much traffic specific news stories get without the knowledge of the average Twitter user. Because of this, I think it is self-evident that some form of government intervention should occur. Jack Dorsey has far too much power for any person with no ties to any government, and who was not elected by the citizenry of any county. With social media networks like Facebook or Twitter, as long as people continue to use their websites and engage with each other, their influence and power will remain unthreatened. Websites like twitter are allowed to moderate their platforms with the expectation that they will not be partisan towards one specific political view. If this action is indicative of some sort of political favoritism, it could set the foundation for a solid legal argument that could remove Twitters legal privileges as a public platform. Given how social media censorship has been a popular topic of discussion in recent months, I would not be surprised if we see Twitter and similar organizations taken to court over this issue in the coming months.

  3. Twitter and many other popular social media platforms have weird algorithms that can censor certain posts when they see something wrong. This is a problem because sometimes, there really is no issue with a post, it is simply an algorithm picking up something that really isn’t against the company or platform rules. This is seen when a lot of influencers or stars with a big following post about it or when something they posted gets taken down for no reason whatsoever. I believe this is something that all social media platforms can work on. Regarding the twitter hacking, I do agree that Twitter should be able to censor hacked or leaked personal information when it is from the hacker itself. In my opinion, I believe it is morally incorrect to just let these people get personal information about anyone and for them to be able to publish it online for everyone to see. With all of these advancing technologies, big companies like this should be able to solve these problems instantly and others just like it. They also need to keep updating and accommodating with the changing times. Also, the algorithms are supposed to work in favor of the person using whichever device and platform, therefore, there shouldn’t be any moderated information about politics, since it is such a big issue these days. The platforms and algorithms are supposed to show no biased and simply show what the viewer is interested in, depending on their searches, likes, etc. Given that there have been so many problems like this recently, all social media platforms should rethink their policies and algorithms, since they have such a great impact on people nowadays and also in order to avoid any legal problems.

  4. From normal social media users to celebrities at the height of their fame, almost everyone uses Twitter as a social media sharing source. Even the President of the United States and other political figures use Twitter as their main way to release news and information, sometimes instead of press conferences. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind about the usefulness and importance that Twitter has in our modern age as one of the most used and credible information sharing medium that is used today. With this huge role comes great responsibility in the hands of those who run Twitter. Addressed in the article above is one of the biggest issues facing the directors and authorities of Twitter – the blocking of news that is contrived from hacked materials or evidence.

    While hacking in and of itself does not have good connotations, it has been useful in the past for uncovering information that is vital to the success of individual people or entire populations. Government organizations like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of defense utilize what are known as “white hat hackers.” These are the type of hackers who use their skills for good and not for illegal or nefarious purposes. For instance, the FBI may use their hackers to surveil known criminal devices to find ways they can stop illegal activities from occurring while the DOD can use hackers to protect Americans from terroristic threats. Hacking in general, however, typically begs the image of a nerdy loner locked in his room uncovering all sorts of secrets and materials that they shouldn’t be seeing, but this is not always the case.

    Twitter banning hacked materials from the social media website with no context whatsoever was a bad idea. As a main source of communication, there are thousands, if not millions, of pieces of data that have come from hacked sources or materials. The information in question in the Ars Technica article, however, is information that is of great political interest to many Americans. Other hacked information is typical of great importance to the world as they uncover information that otherwise would have been swept under the rug for a long time. I think that Twitter’s new approach to their hacked materials policy leaves only room to benefit. When information is shared directly by hackers and they gain media fame or clout, they may be inspired to continue nefarious practices. But when a reputable news source uses this information in an article, there is less risk involved. Chances are that the reputable news sources have probably done some fact-checking of their own before posting an article using hacked information anyway. Regardless, Twitter’s fix was both necessary and deserved, as blocking hacked materials eliminates thousands of potentially beneficial information for all to become aware of.

  5. In the rising reliance on social media to deliver real news, companies like Twitter face massive scrutiny from both sides of the political sides as they attempt to limit political disinformation. Already facing heat from conservatives for allegations of unfairly censoring right-leaning, Twitter this week blocked links to a New York Post story detailing e-mails from the laptop of Hunter Biden, son of 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Jon Brodkin of ARS Technica reported on this story, writing Twitter blocked the link “because it included private information and violated Twitter’s hacked materials policy, which prohibits sharing links to or images of hacked content” (Brodkin). Following the backlash Twitter received, Twitter is changing their hacked material policy, with Brodkin writing, “Twitter will thus change its hacked materials policy to “no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them.” Twitter will also “label Tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on Twitter” (Brodkin).

    I have conflicted feelings about this policy. On the one hand, I understand wanting to maintain privacy and limit the release of highly sensitive and classified information. Twitter absolutely has the right as a private company to prevent leaks of highly classified data. On the other hand, putting an umbrella over all leaks leaked directly by hackers poses a great threat to whistleblowers who try to leak important information no other journalism organizations are willing to publish, whether out of fear or uncertainty. My mind comes back to Edward Snowden, who leaked the overreaching nature of the NSA’s surveillance programs, such as PRISM. As Americans, we deserve to know how our government watches us, whether we learn through the proper channels or not. While I trust Twitter will take these considerations into effect, I fear that this change in policy will cause notable breaches of privacy to go unchecked and whistleblowers will be more fearful of leaking information that could be pertinent to our safety.

  6. I think Twitter did a relatively good job of handling the situation. They should not be censoring or entirely blocking news articles. Regardless of its content, social media is a biased and generally unreliable source to get news from to begin with. Social media, especially in the last few months, has been a breeding ground for the spread of misinformation. With the upcoming election it has become increasingly difficult to decipher what information is even true anymore. I have seen so many false stories and conspiracy theories spread like a wildfire across social media and the worst part is that people read it and believe it. Social media sites have it especially difficult right now. They have to navigate where to draw the line. How much censorship is too much? Despite the backlash, Twitter was honest and transparent about the fact that they had made a mistake and how they were going to fix it moving forward. They are trying to find the balance between freedom of speech, but also protecting the privacy of others. In my opinion, I think people overreacted a bit. Even though Twitter blocked the link, one could easily find the article in seconds by searching it in google. Which quite honestly social media users should be doing anyways because right now one can never know how truthful the information and links on social media are. I think the new policies Twitter has set in place, by adding informative labels to users, will be an effective method moving forward. However, I felt Twitter should have been more concerned with the content of the story they blocked rather than addressing the problematic no-hacked content policy they previously held. The NYP story was problematic and seemed untrue to begin with. I think they should post more warnings to users about false information, rather than telling users its “hacked content”. Twitter would be better off to follow the lead of social media sites like Instagram, where users are notified before they can even view the content that it is false after being fact-checked. I think policies similar to this could be beneficial to Twitter moving forward.

  7. Twitter faced immense backlash for effectively banning the spread of a New York Post article on their platform. Although I think Twitter had good intentions in mind when it created its anti-hack leak policy in 2018, the platform is a place for people to share news and ideas, and discuss their implications, so by banning the article Twitter robbed people of the chance to discuss something of importance. Twitter’s policy makes sense because people should not directly distribute sensitive, private information retrieved by hackers, but Twitter also should not restrict discussions about the leaks.

    The article in question discussed leaked emails from presidential nominee Joe Biden’s son Hunter, which connected him to a Ukrainian business man Joe aided in blocking an investigation of his business. With the election just a few weeks away, Americans should be learning as much as they can about both candidates, and Twitter is a platform some people use to find news stories about the candidates. President Trump has previously attacked Twitter for labeling some of his tweets as factually incorrect, and Trump will likely issue another attack against the platform for limiting the spread of the Hunter Biden article. Many people already view Twitter as a left-leaning social media platform, and their handling of the Biden article and Trump’s tweet will reinforce this belief for some of the president’s supporters.

  8. In this article, something that stood out to me was the exorbitant prices of some of the recommendations made. The “reMarkable 2” paper tabled is $400, the 12-inch whiteboard is $60, a pack of calm strips will run you up to $30, the “original” balance board is $439, and the headset is another $400. That is a cool $1329 shopping list, and it isn’t close to all the recommendations made in the article. I did like the article. I am one of those people who loves gadgets, so it takes a lot of self-control to maintain a minimalist environment, but I think this article could easily be done on a budget if one had to. I also think that as much stuff as you buy, productivity is a skill born out of habits, not gadgets.
    For headsets, the standard recommendation is the Sony WH100XM4’s at a slightly less expensive $350. But fall back a generation at the sacrifice of Bluetooth 5.0 and barely noticeable sound differences, and the WH1000XM3’s can be had as low as $179 on Amazon. Compared to a $60 fancy, foot-long whiteboard, one can get a 4ft normal one for $50. A real hack is Home Depot who sells whiteboard material for up to %90 less than retailers. It takes some DIY skills and better maintenance because of the lower quality board, but whiteboard lovers like me will appreciate the massive real estate. A less hip balance board is as cheap as $20. And as for the $400 tablet, it looks really cool, and I want it, but a pen and paper will probably be the cheaper solution. The Uplift desks are expensive, and there are many other brands with limited functionality and customization, but one tip might be buying the frame and configuring your own top. Maybe a whiteboard top. Our stay at home desk spaces is allowed to be creative and specially tuned to our needs, and I enjoy setting up everything to my needs. As a PC gamer, I have been admiring desk setups since before it was cool!
    Another important note for at-home productivity is the non-tactical aspects of your environment and your habits. That could mean removing distractions, hanging a vision board above your desk, having a separate space for work, recreation, sleep or turning off notifications. It also means having a good sleep schedule when no boss is waiting for your arrival at the office, exercising in a Covid safe way, and for me meditating every day to train my focus and ability to stay in the present. All of these things outperform the benefit that any gadget could ever earn you.

  9. I believe it is social media’s responsibility to share information and keep people informed. The internet is the largest way to share anything and everything whether it is factual or incorrect. Incorrect information has no place to be online since it could have damaging effects, but according to the article, the Biden story was true, just sourced by a hacker, which is the issue social media platforms now need to address. The issue with how this information was retrieved is because it was hacked from a computer at a repair shop. How this information was retrieved is an issue outside of Twitter and their policies, but Twitter had a responsibility as a social media site to put limitations to this type of post. Twitter’s decision to add labels to posts justifies the continuity of keeping posts based on hacked information up while also allowing users to decide for themselves how they want to take in the information presented. Just like anywhere else on the internet, people need to evaluate what they are reading and the context of who posted it to understand if what they are reading is something they can trust to be accurate.

    Twitter can try to remove posts that are posted by a hacker or try to monitor these posts that infringe on privacy, but once information has been accessed or posted in one place, it will never be removed from the internet. We hear it all the time, once you post something, it never goes away. As a result, Twitter can try to reduce the type of content that is false or posted by a hacker, but just Twitter alone can not stop harmful information by itself. Facebook has also tried censoring these types of posts by reducing the spread of information within their site.
    The spread of harmful and hacked information may turn into an issue that expands beyond social media efforts in which a higher power will need to step in, but until it is addressed on a higher level, we rely on social media platforms to monitor their sites. There are many social media sites people go to for keeping up to date with news stories, so they need to make the first change in policies to address sensitive information. With this becoming a more prevalent issue, other online websites and news platforms will need to adjust and change their policies to show solidarity and that they care for user privacy.

  10. Freedom of speech is something I have always strongly advocated for, and social media platforms have continued censor content that many times, do not violate the company’s guidelines. Hacked content is a tricky, grey area, so I understand why Twitter removed it when it was first posted. But the post was not directly from the hacker, it was from someone who found a video of information that could have potentially been hacked. This is just sharing content and is freedom of speech. I am still happy that it was blocked because Twitter stated, “the materials in the article still violate our rules on sharing personal private information.” Therefore, there is still a sense of privacy on Twitter. That is another big problem that is unfortunately unavoidable. Today in class, we discussed the privacy we have online, and that privacy is almost none. There are corporations like Google and Facebook that know exactly what you search and what you are doing on the internet, without your consent either. And you could do so much, and yet if you use the internet, you are still susceptible to being tracked. There are no laws about tracking people in the US, so companies are free to do it, and that needs to change. We all are supposed to be given a sense of privacy, and these companies have not done that.
    Another issue I had with this was that out of all of things for Twitter to block, it is a post that has to do with politics. I believe that especially on the business side of things, big corporations should not be involved with politics at all. Look at the NBA for example. They have dropped 27% since last season, largely due to their contribution to the racial problems going on in America. Of course, it is right for a company to fight for a good cause, but it has caused the NBA millions, and they really did not help the movement either. Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA would leave BLM messaging “off the floor” next season, and this was due to a huge drop in viewership. Supporting a movement is very important, but letting the players have their own opinions would greatly benefit the NBA in the long run.

  11. Social media is entirely biased to what the user wants to see. It is not necessarily a 100% valid news source, because of how biased posts and articles on it can be. Within the past year, from COVID to civil protests to now the election coming up, we have seen false information be spread insanely. The amount of false information that can be retweeted for others to see, especially when public figures retweet this information to their massive amount of followers can be detrimental. False news is worse now more than ever. This is why I believe that what most social media platforms are doing with flagging posts as false information is very effective. However, this is nothing but an algorithm, and with that can come problems. This includes mistakingly flagging posts as false information or completely blocking a page from posting information. This violates free speech within the platform and creates an entirely new problem on its own. The basis of the algorithm, which most social media platforms already use, I completely agree with and think it is beneficial when it is so close to election time and false information can spread like a virus.

  12. Whenever we have an election year in our country, it is always a big deal between political parties and American citizens. However, I do not think we have ever really seen an election like this upcoming one. The race for the presidency is neck and neck between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump. With the election only being weeks away, something about one of the candidates always comes out in the news. It happened in 2016 with the scandal of Stormy Daniels. Now Joe Biden is on the receiving end of this year with the news release of his son, Hunter Biden, receiving millions of dollars from unknown business deals with Ukraine. While Joe Biden says he knew nothing about this, it is hardly likely that is true given the evidence found in emails. With that being said, after the release of this by the Trump campaign, Twitter blocked the information for users to see around the world, given the reasoning that it was hacked material. Regardless of this was hacked material or not, I think the American people have the right to know what corrupt dealing Joe Biden and his family got themselves into. It I crazy that no Democratic news station is talking about this either. Last week in Joe Biden’s townhall, nothing was brought up by the interviewers and it was even the day of which everything happened. The second presidential debate is tonight and I believe with certainty that it will get brought up. Since this is such a hot topic in the country now, I believe it is the moderator’s right to bring it up, but given she is a Democrat, we really do not know what to expect. If she does not bring it up, I am sure President Trump will find a way to attack with that. I really do not think it is fair Twitter did this to suppress the story and I think it is unheard of for a company to change their terms and conditions right after the fact. This election is one of the most important elections in American history and the American people have the right to know if the candidates are engaged in shady business.

  13. I feel really upset when Twitter tries to censor certain activity. I feel that it is actually defeating the purpose of the first amendment, because social media is a place to explain one’s feelings, emotions, and thoughts. This article also helps to prove that everyone needs to be appropriate and ethical on social media, because it will be a very important when going through background checks for any job. However at the same time, I feel that Twitter is doing a great job implementing ethical values within the business. This article is very influential because it helps to explain the importance of Twitter and other social media, keep people updated about the news, and the ethical values that a business should uphold.

  14. The Post recently released an article that contained Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden’s, emails that allegedly were retrieved from his computer. The effects of this information can change the entire direction of the upcoming election. However, Twitter blocked any content that contained the link to the article from being shared. The article went against Twitter’s guidelines for sharing hacked materials. While the information does come from a hacked laptop, it is imperative information to know during this election. While Twitter was just following their guidelines, it should be adjusted in this case. Whether you support Joe Biden or not, this information should not be blocked from the public.

    It is important for the public to see this information. People have the right to know who they are voting for. If the information is available, people should be able to access it. The internet is very biased and picks what information they would like to be shared. Blocking links to Hunter Biden’s leaked emails potentially shields the country from seeing how corrupt the candidate may be. I support Joe Biden but would still like to see these emails. It does not benefit the nation to blindly follow someone without knowing their faults. There should be a level of transparency from both sides, just as Donald Trump’s tax forms should be released. One of these candidates is going to become the president for four years and voters should have the right to know who they are actually voting for. An informed voter is the best kind of voter, which in turn creates the best candidate to be elected.

    The new policy implemented by Twitter to add additional context to articles is beneficial. As a social media site, many people may read a headline and take it for face value. Adding context to the initial citing of the article will stop drastic assumptions from uninformed viewers. Blocking the article entirely will create more problems, as it can affect the upcoming election drastically. Adding the context tabs will give people their obligated right to view the information, without jumping to any conclusions.

  15. I have to applaud Twitter, the American microblogging and social networking service, on its recent decision to change its policy on exposing hacked material. Personally, I am neither a Democrat nor Republican. However, I must say that taking an objective stance on the matter of political concerns is the best thing for a company to do. A platform that supposedly prioritizes its users’ opinions being shared needs to put all its bets on satisfying the customers’ wants and needs; that is, their freedom to express themselves, without infringing upon other’s rights, of course. It is no secret that the majority of users want their thoughts and ideas on topics, events, etc. to be heard by their friends, family, followers, and so on. Even United States President Donald J. Trump frequently uses Twitter as one of his most prominent methods of delivering messages to the American public, besides the media (even then, a large percentage of news media revolves around his ‘tweets’). Whether you support former Vice-President Joe R. Biden or 45th U.S. President Donald J. Trump, the freedom to access and review information and other related knowledge should be inherently permissible, but especially encouraged. In no just society should the limitation and restriction of accessible media prohibit the growing of the minds of the public. Furthermore, when the CEO of Twitter claimed they poorly mishandled the subject, he could not have been closer to the truth. Accountability must be taken on all subjects and circumstances.

    I do not have an account with Twitter, and I probably will not create one for some time. However, this act of changing their policy, despite it being a result of backlash, is something I deeply appreciate Twitter for doing. YouTube, on the other hand, is a notorious example of a company known to praise its minority groups, yet hypocritically repress their content or material with its abundance of guidelines and policies. These so-called ‘community guidelines’ are the same reason most minority content creators struggle to thrive, constantly living in fear of being demonetized, thus making no money (i.e. there is no incentive to grow a channel after loss of all sources of income). YouTube should take a look at what Twitter is doing. Take note, Susan Wojcicki. Back to Twitter, now, I believe the content of the hacked material is ironic. Even though it concerns the alleged emails of Hunter Biden in crime related activities, there should be public access to it, if it does exist. The same goes for any impertinent information related to our politicians, I strongly believe. The people, or public, reserves the right to know the affairs of any of its politicians or candidates. It is entrusted in our hands to elect who we believe to be the best fitting man/woman for the job. How is that possible if we are not given the most clear, definite picture?

  16. Social media companies are still in their trial-and-error stage of how to mitigate the spread of malicious posts on their platforms. After the 2016 election, Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others have attempted to prevent a repeat in subsequent elections. Facebook in particular often finds itself under a microscope after its relationship with Cambridge Analytica was revealed.
    In this case, Twitter outright blocked users from posting a URL link to a New York Post article, going so far as to suspend accounts that attempted to do so (the official Ney York Post account is still suspended as I am writing this). In comparison, Google and Facebook attempt to add context to a post. For example, if a YouTube video had ‘Climate Change’ in its title, there would be a Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica page listed below that users can click on.
    Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did say that he viewed the platform’s procedures inadequate and promised to move towards the YouTube model. This also sparked a backlash among Republican lawmakers who have long accused big tech of anti-conservative bias and threatening to revoke protections granted by Section 230. Jack Dorsey is also expected to be subpoenaed by the Republican-controlled Senate.
    In the midst of all this, Facebook has been looking to keep itself out of the spotlight during this election, saying it will halt political ads after the first polls close on November 3rd. Additionally, all political ads will be labeled during the run-up.

  17. Twitter has become the main form of communication over the last decade. People have shared all their information with Twitter, and news travel around the world instantaneously. Whether the information is good, bad, fake, or real, it travels to everyone around the world with a click of a button. Twitter has banned the ability to post hacked information with the Twitter community. Twitter was receiving a lot of back lash from blocking users to post the Hunter Biden email story that the Post originally posted. I do not believe that it is right to block users from posting true stories. I cannot believe that Hunter Bidens laptop was hacked. It was abandoned and any type of law enforcement collecting the computer and looking at Hunter Biden’s emails is allowed. Twitter users should be able to spread the information of Hunter Biden’s personal life since it effects the outcome of the presidential election. Twitter was receiving backlash from blocking users from retweeting the story or URL code. Twitter announced that they would provide context to the post without blocking the ability to retweet it. This is the same policy Instagram provides. When people repost pictures or videos that are not true or could be fake news or false information Instagram provides a warning without showing the picture right away. Users then must click whether or not they want to view the post. This is what Twitter should be practicing in their policies. Twitter did not explain themselves when they blocked peoples retweets but did it without warning. Basing this off politics is very controversial. If political posts are being banned from being shared on Twitter, then all political tweets should not be allowed to be posted. Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, even though they are not all owned by the same person, should have the same posting rules. It is unfair that fake news has been being spread about politics, COVID, and fake news in general. Twitter should create new rules to keep all their members happy. With so many different views on social media, it is hard to keep everyone happy. This is the reason why Twitter must make universal rules that keep each member happy. With new policies, Twitter will be able to keep themselves out of trouble by their members.

  18. I think Twitter made a good move with their decision to change the policy in regards to hacked materials. While it’s important to make sure to not promote harmful hacking or support those doing it, Twitter needed to add more detail to their policy to avoid these things while still allowing a platform for people to share important information on their app. In this specific scenario, the policy was changed in regards to a New York Post article talking about the recent controversy surrounding Hunter Biden and his allegedly leaked emails from Ukraine. The article being shared was from a credible source and was simply providing political information surrounding the situation, so as it eventually was should have been allowed. I think the best part about the new policy is the disclaimers of background information that will be given on such tweets moving forward. I have seen these disclaimers in the past on posts containing potentially fake news, as it warns the viewer without completely silencing the outlet. These such warnings are a great idea moving forward, but it will be essential to make sure the bias and opinions of those at Twitter don’t begin to impact how they regulate the app and its users. The topic of media bias and what is allowed on these massive platforms is at full force right now, as many Americans get the vast majority of their information from these platforms. Twitter is taking a step in the right direction with this policy but needs to stay fully aware moving forward.

  19. According to twitters legal executive, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter has decided to make policy changes after facing criticism and after receiving significant feedback. This change came after twitter blocked users from tweeting links to a New York Post article regarding emails from Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter. Since 2018, Twitter’s policy aimed to discourage and mitigate harms that hacked information would have on people’s privacy. This was done as a way to balance people’s personal information and the right of free expression. Going forward, the new hacked material policy will “no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them.” In addition, Twitter will also label tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on twitter.” Twitters new policy, although not in place, will soon be implemented under scrutiny by the Trump administration and the FCC chairmen Ajit Pai, limiting twitter’s and other social medias legal protection when they decide to block or modify users’ content. Furthermore, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to subpoena Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey over blocking the New York Post’s article. In my opinion, in American we have the freedom of speech and the content or information should not be censored. In addition, instead of Twitter providing their own context to the situation, the user should be left responsible to do their own research and come to their own conclusions.

  20. Twitter recently blocked links to a New York Post story that contained emails from Hunter Biden allegedly retrieved from a computer left at a repair shop. The story in itself has become political, with the right claiming these emails prove Hunter and Joe Biden are guilty, and the left claiming these emails are Russian disinformation designed to distract from the flaws of the President. No matter where you fall on the subject, it is undeniable that Twitter used unjust censorship. On top of this, Facebook restricted access to the same story. This article, written by Jon Brodkin illustrates the dangers that can come from censorship. The article talks of Twitter’s plan to change their policy in this regard. In response to backlash over the blocking of the post, A source from twitter said, “We tried to find the right balance between people’s privacy and the right of free expression, but we can do better.” The article also mentions that Jack Dorsey himself acknowledged that they handled the situation poorly. Dorsey specifically mentioned that the problem they had made was blocking the URL without mentioning the context. Twitter took a new stance on this position when they announced they would be providing labels to provide people with additional context. Vijya Gadde said “We believe that labeling Tweets and empowering people to assess content for themselves better serves the public interest and public conversation,”. Personally, I am a fan of this approach. Though I believe labeling tweets is unnecessary, I definitely think Twitter is better off now because of their approach. In all, Social media companies shouldn’t be censoring stories. When companies do things like this, it makes them seem like less of an unbiased company and a company with certain political leanings. In the eyes of many republicans and conservatives, Twitter’s censorship of the Hunter Biden story makes them a left leaning company, censoring conservative voices. If we would just stop censoring content and follow the new approach, there would be less controversy and less backlash. I believe that Twitter made the right decision by changing it’s policy and I think Facebook should so the same.

  21. I chose this article because I actually saw this situation happen. When I was on twitter I looked under the trending section and it was the story on Hunter Biden. By my surprise I saw an uproar of people who were trying to share the New York Post article but twitter was not letting it happen. They did this to try to stop the spread of mis information, but who’s to say the information in the article wasn’t true? The algorithms these social media platforms are implementing are used to flag any post that goes against the community guidelines. It seems to be that these social media platforms have become very political. Another company that does this censorship is on facebook. It seems both platforms are leaning more left than right. Facebook did the same thing where they censored the story in an unjust fashion. Regardless of political view, this was unjust of both companies and they both should change their policies. With all of the mis-information being spread around these platforms against the president, its easy to see that these two companies are trying to influence peoples perceptions. I heard on the news the next morning that the CEO had apologized for the situation and that they handled the situation poorly. I believe that to be an understatement. Many people rely on the information they see on these platforms rather than do their own research to find the true story. These political postings on these platforms are through a biased lens. For example, when the article came out saying that the president only paid $750 in taxes. This is false information and hacked information. The only way to retrieve that information would be through the tax returns that are still currently being audited. Not only is this a crime, it is fake news at its finest. Why didn’t these platforms stop people from that article from the New York Post? Companies similar to twitter should all change their policies on the subject of “Hacked Materials”.

  22. All social media outlets face allegations at some point during their run, including those of hacking personal privacy. I am not so sure if I agree with their new policy that allows hacked information to be posted only if it is not directly from the hacker. I believe that leaked information needs to come from reputable sources because word spreads too quickly online which can easily be misinterpreted if read from the wrong outlet. The rebuttal in my opinion is that people should be able to see for themselves what is being released in the media which should have no regulations. However, if this was to be true without any media outlet control over the matter, how are people supposed to know what is true and what is not? Someone could say “Here is leaked information!” except what they “leaked” is not really leaked – it is just false.

    I agree with Twitter’s policy to keep private information censored – something a lot more people should be aware of. The privacy of documents between the presidential candidate and his son are not for people to be discussing unless it has to do with the safety of the country. Even then, it is not for citizens to debate, it is for elected officials to debate over.

    I do not understand why the Trump administration would want to limit the legal provisions social media websites have in place. I mean, the way I think about it is that he wants to do something that is not permitted as per their guidelines these sites have. Blocking and modifying content should not be done excessively, of course, but to eliminate all regulations, in general, is probably not going to benefit the most people.

  23. I found this article very interesting on many different levels, due to the illegal infringement that they are causing American Citizens, and the new contract Twitter will be putting out to all of its users. In a sense, Twitter would be removing different URL options on its platform, by not allowing you to share URLs on Twitter. They were going to be doing this due to information that was hacked and leaked on the platform.
    What I don’t think is acceptable is the fact that they are removing a way of sharing and connecting on this app. This takes away the freedom of speech when they are not offering this app function anymore. Without being able to share URL’s people won’t be able to chat in the chain feature on Twitter with new information being updated all the time. People, especially young people go to Twitter to find out their current news. As apart of this generation we are constantly being updated, and new articles are being written all the time. Without this function, we will not be able to continue to be updated on these events.
    The other interesting idea that is happening in this article is the idea that there will need to be an update in the terms of the agreement. This will cause Twitter to send out a new “contract” with its users. This makes me wonder if they are going to have fewer users, or if the public will fight back, and Twitter users will go down.
    Overall I think that this article is very interesting based on the new information that Twitter released about its app updates. I think that it is very hard to stop a hacker, therefore even with the new change to the app, there will still be ways to leak out important information.

  24. This article discusses the changes that Twitter made to its hacked-materials policy, as well as the reason for why Twitter decided to change their initial policy. Recently, Twitter has banned users from Tweeting links to a New York Post article containing information about Hunter Biden’s emails. This information was considered to be illegally obtained according to Twitter, and so Twitter banned all users from accessing this information by cutting off people’s access to the article withholding the hacked content. In response to the backlash, Twitter changed their policy so that they can provide context for enforcing policies instead of just blocking URLs without an explanation. According to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, “Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that”. Dorsey acknowledged that Twitter could have handled the situation in simpler, less-extreme ways. For instance, the article mentioned that Facebook handles situations like these not by outright blocking links to a story, but rather by reducing its distribution of articles with hacked information or images.

    Twitter’s new and improved policy no longer limits Twitter to Tweet removal as an enforced action. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal executive, says this about Twitter’s new policy; “We believe that labeling Tweets and empowering people to assess content for themselves better serves the public interest and public conversation,” she wrote. “The Hacked Material Policy is being updated to reflect these new enforcement capabilities”. This new policy will still apply the rules regarding the posting of or linking to hacked materials. With the implementation of the policy, only hacked content shared by the hackers themselves, or those acting with them, will be removed instead. The policy is currently not implemented, but Twitter plans on doing so very soon. Twitter’s decision to block the Post article before makes people wonder about how it will impact Twitter’s more important uses.

    I believe Twitter did make the right choice in improving its censorship policy. Hackers have made their presence known in this day in age with the countless amount of cyber crimes being committed every day. With the current pandemic, technology and the internet have proven to be the most essential tools for people to use in everyday life. Twitter, as well as all other social media platforms, should make sure that their policies prevent hackers from taking advantage of people personal information. However, their policies should also be fair enough so that only the hackers who release personal information are held accountable, as well as the people who work with them.

  25. Twitter’s decision to block the sharing of a New York Post article regarding Hunter Biden, was a very unethical action taken by the company. Social media platforms are supposed to be a place where people can speak freely and share content with one another. Twitter decided to change that by blocking a news story without any explanation for the users of the platform. They blocked the link to the story from being lost or shared between users. They also decided to suspend anyone’s account that was able to post the link, causing the current press secretary to have her account suspended. As I am writing this the New York Post has still not had their account unsuspended after two weeks. Later, Twitter did release that the reason the post was blocked from being shared because it was hacked information. While this may be a valid reason to suspend information, Twitter has been known to push hacked information on its platform before. They have become selective with what they do, and they do not censor.
    Twitter’s actions all fall under the larger umbrella of social media companies censoring the speech of their users. For a country that has been built off the idea of freedom of speech, we cannot let these actions go unchecked. There must be protections put into place which ensure that the censoring of Americans does not become commonplace. Companies such as Twitter use section 230 of the communications decency act is what gives social media companies the ability to censor content on their platforms. This act was put into place to allow online companies limited liability for the content which is posted on their platforms. Therefore, a company like Twitter or Facebook would not be able to get sued for the information that a user posted on their platform. Effectively separating news organizations, how are liable for what they post, from people and comment sections. However recently this law has been used for these same social media companies to limit the speech of individuals that they deemed to be against their terms of service. Social media companies have taken this law to the extreme and now use it for their own gain rather than how the law is meant to be used.

  26. With the election upon us I selected this article because it brings up a very important concept. How much control, if any, should social media have over political content? This question does not have a simple answer and over the last year there has been an ongoing debate about this topic. The article talks about how Twitter prevented users from accessing a URL to an article about Hunter Biden’s emails. The media giant has since backtracked, recognizing that this action was not appropriate. Initially the justified it by citing their “hacked materials policy”. Since then revisions have been made to the policy which will now allow content “unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them” (Brodkin).

    The issue that I take with situations like this, which are quite frequent as we near election day, is that social media platforms should not identify with a political party. While the creators of these platforms are entitled to their political views and welcome to share them, they should not be allowed to censor content that expresses an opposing point of view or might change the minds of some voters unless the content is intentionally inaccurate. More often than not you hear of these events occurring but in the vast majority of these cases the information being withheld could be seen as benefiting the Republican party. This makes it appear as if Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are Democrats, but how can that be when these platforms exist to give everyone a voice regardless of party? Certainly the withholding of information of either party is a concern, but to me the bigger fear is that these companies are pushing a political agenda.

  27. The blocking of the New York Post article was wrong of Twitter to do. It seems that Big Tech has been gaining more and more control in the political landscape of America. I feel that Twitter should be held accountable for blocking a news article with no justification as to why. The reason why this action by Twitter seems politically motivated is because of the way CEO Jack Dorsey responded to the criticism, “Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that” ( If Twitter felt it was acceptable to have blocked the story because of a credibility issue, it would’ve made sense for them to stick by their initial ban policy. The fact that the social media company then changed the banning tweets policy suggests there may be an ulterior motive for blocking the spread of the NY Post story.
    With the election close, it makes sense for companies to make sure that blatant misinformation is not spreading like wildfire. However, it’s hard to pretend that Twitter isn’t favoring one candidate over the other. When Trump’s tax returns were released, claims were made that he illegally evaded tax, and was a failed businessman. Although Trump was accused of colluding with Russia, his tax returns show otherwise, “They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his true wealth. Nor do they reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia” ( Politicians and media claimed that Trump had cheated in the election and was somehow connected to Russia. However, his tax return didn’t show any connection to Russia. Also, I think it’s important to note that he has value in assets, so calling him a failed businessman isn’t the most accurate description. I think it would be in the best interest of Americans that Twitter and other social media platforms act like social media sites and not news publishers with an obvious bias.

  28. This article mentions changes that Twitter will implement regarding its policy on hacked materials. In the past Twitter has removed tweets that included hacked content. However, they have received backlash from users who claim that removing tweets is an infringement on the right to free speech. As a result, Twitter has announced that they will remove hacked content if it comes directly from the hackers. Instead, they will label tweets with hacked content so users can make better decisions about what they read. However, the way the company handles content moderation and censorship is still a topic of much debate.

    It is difficult to determine what the right thing to do is in terms of content moderation and censorship. Social media companies have been dealing with this issue for a long time. Some false information that is spread online can be harmful. False information about the coronavirus, for example, could lead people to make decisions that cause themselves or others to get sick. However, not all false information is a problem. There are many satirical articles that are spread online and that are not meant to be taken seriously. If all false information online was censored, then people who share false information for humorous purposes would be unable to reach the same audience that they would be able to on social media. Labeling content as false could be a valid solution to this problem; however, it is further complicated when this is applied to opinions or less obvious content. Social media platforms will have to continue to be careful of what they do if they want to avoid mislabeling content.

  29. Social media has been the base of where people can communicate and discuss their political opinions and current events. Twitter is one of the popular bases where political and current event views are expressed. Even people in political power such as the president use social media to express their opinions. Twitter has made a legal adjustment to balance people’s privacy and the right to free express. And people have questioned what gives Twitter the right to make these decisions on how we freely express but in a private way. Basic rights are being taken away by this legal movement. You say you want to give the right to freely express your opinion but you hide some of the comments or posts for people’s privacy that totally contradicts the whole right to freely express. Other social media such as Facebook do the same thing where there influence to engage others and prominently make more candidates in political stance to be viewed more and campaign more. This leads to the question: after all presidential elections and political rallies calm down will social media be taken to court for covering people’s true opinions to help campaign for other political candidates.

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