Twitter changes policies after criticism for restricting anti-Biden content

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Twitter changed its “hacked materials policy” in response to mounting criticism after the policy was enforced against users sharing anti-Biden content online.

Twitter had restricted the distribution of bad news for Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden by redirecting users attempting to read a New York Post article regarding Mr. Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, to a webpage warning that the story’s hyperlink was “unsafe.” Twitter also prevented tweets linking to the story and direct messages sharing the story in private.

Twitter is no longer redirecting users away from the news publication’s Wednesday story.

“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy to fix,” tweeted Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO, on Thursday evening. “Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that.”

Twitter had also taken more aggressive action against its users, including locking the accounts of users that shared New York Post articles about Hunter Biden’s emails that contradict the Democratic presidential nominee’s claims. Only if the users deleted tweets offending Twitter’s policies were they allowed to tweet again.

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter legal, policy and trust & safety lead, said Thursday evening that the company is “no longer limited to Tweet removal as an enforcement action” and may choose instead to apply labels to tweets the company deems inappropriate.

“We believe that labeling Tweets and empowering people to assess content for themselves better serves the public interest and public conversation,” Ms. Gadde tweeted on Thursday. “The Hacked Material Policy is being updated to reflect these new enforcement capabilities.”

Prior to the changes, Senate Republicans had vowed to take action next week to subpoena Mr. Dorsey to appear in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee before the November election to explain his company’s crackdown on anti-Biden content.

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