Last Friday, Twitter reversed its controversial editorial decision to block users from sharing a New York Post article that pertains to “smoking gun” emails related to Joe Biden and his son. The emails obtained from Hunter Biden’s laptop are left behind for repair in a Delaware shop in April 2019.
Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday decided to take action before verifying the contents of the article. The article contains an unproven story that alleges Hunter Biden, son of Joe Biden. Both social media companies decided to block the news article’s distribution by the New York Post that mentioned an attempt to introduce an executive of a Ukrainian corporation he worked for to his father, who at that time was the U.S vice president.
It seems that at one point, Hunter Biden allowed a Ukrainian executive to meet his father, the former vice president. However, the email is not specific about the meeting’s nature and might discuss a future meeting. Nevertheless, Republicans have long wanted to tie the former vice president to his son’s business interests; hence this issue is potentially politically damaging.
Twitter defended itself by saying that it had blocked the article because it contained images of hacked material with personal and private information. Twitter then explained that there should not be any form of bans in the discussion or commentary on the hacked materials. Twitter’s initial decision provoked an uproar from Trump, Republicans, right-leaning publications, Twitter users regarding unfair and politically motivated censorship.
“So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of ‘Smoking Gun’ Emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!”President Donald Trump
Later on, as criticism against Twitter continued, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account tweeted late Wednesday about the company’s initial decision to block links without explaining it was “unacceptable.”
Twitter has now reversed its decision and also made changes in its policies on Thursday. The company reversed its decision because of the worldwide leakage of the article’s previously private information, a spokesman for the company said.
Regarding changes in its policies, Twitter said that they would no longer get rid of hacked content except if it is shared directly by hackers or those in concert. Twitter will now label tweets instead of blocking links, said Vijaya Gadde, legal, public policy, and trust and safety lead at Twitter.