Twitter Fixes Its Bad Policy On Blocking 'Hacked' Documents

from the good-to-see dept

As I’m sure you’re already aware, there was a lot of focus this week on Twitter’s content moderation practices, after it chose to stop people from linking to a sketchy NY Post article that contained some emails taken from a computer that was claimed to have been Hunter Biden’s laptop. While many in the Trump orbit were insisting that this was “anti-conservative bias,” the company said that the issue was violating its “hacked content” policies, as well as its policies against showing images revealing personal information, such as email addresses.

As we have discussed in the past this policy was already quite controversial, out of fear that it would be used to block reporting on leaked documents.

Late last night, Twitter announced that after hearing those concerns, they were changing the policy. Rather than responding to the controversy, and the nonsense grandstanding by clueless politicians, they were actually responding to the legitimate concerns many of raised about how this policy could block legitimate reporting, journalism organizations, and activist groups:

The new policy is that Twitter may — instead of blocking such links outright — begin to add labels and context to such links. In other words (once again) taking a “more speech” approach, rather than a straight up “block” decision. I think this is the right move and, while I wish Twitter had made it earlier, it’s good to see the company paying attention and improving.

As the new announcement notes, the policy against linking to private information or manipulated media remain in place — suggesting that this won’t actually change the ability to link to that NY Post article. But it does fix the hamfisted nature of that policy.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Silly-Con Valley fact-checker training firm BLASTS Twitter:

First, WHERE ARE YOUR FANBOYS, MAZ? I compliment you on getting this abject admission that you too were wrong out. Guess the kids can’t bear it.

International Fact-Checking Network Associate Director Cristina Tard guila penned the blistering column headlined, "Without methodology or transparency, Facebook and Twitter become the `arbiters of the truth," which stated that anyone who doesn’t believe that is dangerous is simply "naive."

Of course, "simply" is a compliment because implies innocent, but here at Techdirt, you clearly intend to suppress all other viewpoints and Truth, "simply" reject those in favor of agenda.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Silly-Con Valley fact-checker training firm BLASTS Twitter:

I compliment you on getting this abject admission that you too were wrong out.

The "abject admission" that I was wrong… is pointing out that Twitter has made the very change we suggested they make to fix the very policy we pointed out was a problem?

Dude. Seriously. Troll better.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Silly-Con Valley fact-checker training firm BLASTS Twitt

So "Ridiculous Trumpist Meltdown" in YOUR OWN HEADLINE shows nothing of your own editorial evaluation? BALONEY.

YOU characterize the whole topic with those three words, PUNK, stating your view that it was all hooey, and you’re FLATLY WRONG.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"Ridiculous Trumpist Meltdown" in YOUR OWN HEADLINE shows nothing of your own editorial evaluation?

We can call the conservative meltdown over the decision “ridiculous” (because it was) and criticize Twitter’s decision as “dumb” (because it was) at the same time. I’m sorry that you can’t seem to hold two thoughts in your head without overheating your brain, but that’s a “you” problem.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Silly-Con Valley fact-checker training firm BLASTS T

Reading comprehension has never been your strong suit, but this is silly even by your incredibly low standards.

The ridiculous trumpist meltdown is correct, because it was ridiculous — because it was based on misunderstanding WHY Twitter did what it did. We were clear about which parts of the policy we thought were misguided (next time read the actual post before you pretend we said something we did not).

These two things can be true at the same time, which is why our post was entirely consistent:

  1. Trumpists freakout because they misunderstood the policy reasons for Twitter’s decision.
  2. Twitter’s policy on this issue was not good.

That was the argument we made. Twitter has now corrected number two. But I haven’t seen any Trumpists (especially not you) recognize number one yet. But not understanding the difference between both of these issues does not mean that we were wrong about one. Because we were not.

Now that I’ve dumbed it down for you, have you got it yet?

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

The previous article on this dumbassed decision by Twitter criticized the decision. Twitter had the right to do it, but that didn’t make it the right thing to do.

And if you’re relying on Facebook or Twitter as an “arbiter of truth”, you have bigger problems.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Greenwald: Facebook and Twitter Cross a Line Far More Dangerous

Than What They Censor

https://theintercept.com/2020/10/15/facebook-and-twitter-cross-a-line-far-more-dangerous-than-what-they-censor/

Among the much else you kids aren’t strong enough to even read is this EXACT but more eloquent statement of my views:

No company can claim such massive, unique legal exemptions from the federal law and then simultaneously claim they owe no duties to the public interest and are not answerable to anyone. To advocate that is a form of authoritarian corporatism: simultaneously allowing tech giants to claim legally conferred privileges and exemptions while insisting that they can act without constraints of any kind.

You FEW kids should always recall that while I’m outnumbered HERE on tiny TD, there is a real world.

Now, I like this quote, even more points up the merely mechanical nature of FB and Twitter as HOSTS, not publishers:

In sum, the two Silicon Valley giants, with little explanation, united to prevent the sharing and dissemination of this article. As Los Angeles Times reporter Matt Pearce put it, "Facebook limiting distribution is a bit like if a company that owned newspaper delivery trucks decided not to drive because it didn’t like a story. Does a truck company edit the newspaper? It does now, apparently."

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Anonymous Coward says:

So, "Ridiculous Trumpist Meltdown", eh? Dorsey refutes you.

Greenwald refutes you.

You’re just tiny little WRONG Masnick, a few fanboys, and some paid-for astro-turfing.

Most importantly: Biden is NOT denying the evidence is real! Only media flacks and contrary little leftists like TD fanboys are. So it may explode full in your faces, kids.

Now, if only there were some term to attracting MORE attention by trying to downplay and say true news is fake… I suggest Masnick Effect.


I may go on another tear and keep at this topic. Of course I’ll "fail to shit on" it, as one "AC" indirectly complimented me for my efforts on a Nunes piece way back — because my purpose is to simply state Truth.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: So, "Ridiculous Trumpist Meltdown", eh? Dorsey ref

And does not your headline of the prior piece show "anti-conservative bias"?

You’ve backtracked, you sniveling little PUNK.

Bring on the ad hom, kids, it’s all you’ve got left on this topic, it’s been abjectly abandoned by your leftist corporates.

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ECA (profile) says:

Re: So, "Ridiculous Trumpist Meltdown", eh? Dorsey refutes you.

?Wow, interesting point.
But can you say that either side isnt corrupted?
There Ideals change with every election, on both sides.
A 2 party system has so many holes in it, it wouldnt hold water as well as a colander.
Letting the 30%(repub’s and demo’s) control the other 70% of this nation is abit retarded.
The people are supposed to be responsible for our nation. And we elect those we ‘HOPE’ will do their best by the people.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s the difference between thinking that one person has it out for you versus the community at large thinking that you’re such a despicable little worm that nothing you say has any value and therefore deserves flagging.

One of those plays into a persecution/humiliation fetish, the other would require acknowledging that maybe they are the asshole in the room.

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Darkness Of Course (profile) says:

Love the joke, ignore the conservatives

Claiming
A: Twitter is censoring
B: Twitter must stop censoring conservative speech

While not understanding the difference between the government restricting free speech and a private business running its business, typical Trumpette.

Then to claim Federal Gov should take over whether Twitter blocks/bans people/posts on their site, wow. Just imagine how nice that would be; The Dems rule the House. They stand a solid chance of getting the Senate, and the presidency. So, that would mean (slowly now, or the Trumpette will get lost) the Democrats would be the one deciding who Twitter should ban and/or block.

Funny! Although admittedly, Trumpettes are the world’s worst joke.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Better late than never

While I can understand why they might have had that rule in place it really wasn’t a good one, given as pointed out in the article it would also impact some important instances of whistleblowing, so I’m glad sanity prevailed here and they decided to toss it.

Having rules to limit problematic content is one thing, but it’s important to narrow them down and keep context in mind lest you end up blocking something that very much should not be blocked.

Joe K says:

Re: Better late than never

I find it odd that there is so little discussion of how vaguely worded the policy is.
The term ‘hacked’ is a very fuzzy term, and nowhere does the policy explain what precisely it is supposed to mean.
Clearly it is intended to leave Twitter with maximum discretionary power to decide whether it applies, depending on other considerations.
Very interesting to see who is so eager to shut down questions about what those other considerations might be.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: BlueLeaks?

so Twitter selectively applies their policies? What a surprise! This is the reason why their policy change is absolutely irrelevant in the first place. Some "materials" are more "hacked" than others, and some "news" are more "news". But yeah, let’s pat Twitter on the shoulder for updating a policy they will never consistently uphold anyway, because apparently the form is more important than the substance.

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restless94110 (profile) says:

Etch a sketch

Nothing sketchy about a deeply sourced confirmed trove of emails revealing that Biden has been lying through his teeth.

Twitter shouldn’t be blocking anything for any reason. Free Speech means the freedom of people to say stuff or show stuff that you don’t like. There’s no point in free speech otherwise.

Trying to pretend that this hard drive full of all kind of things is not real or is sketchy? Man how do you sleep at night? This is going to be the biggest thing in US History and you are talking like it’s nothing.

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Rocky says:

Re: Etch a sketch

Nothing sketchy about a deeply sourced confirmed trove of emails revealing that Biden has been lying through his teeth.

No one has yet presented evidence that the laptop actually belonged to Hunter Biden.
What is even more troubling is that the emails NYP published was PDF’s (that where created a year ago) and the really incriminating email was only published as an image. No one can verify the veracity of an email presented as an image which is why anyone with their reasoning faculties intact ask themselves WHY that particular email wasn’t presented as a PDF like the others.

Deeply sourced?? Only gullible idiots believe in unsubstantiated claims that have troubling inconsistencies.

Joe K says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

There are indeed people like you describe. And there are people who aren’t. It is for the second sort of audience that you issue a denial.

When you don’t, and instead try to paint everyone who asks what’s going on as some kind of unhinged partisan ultra, you invite them to suspect that the damaging material is largely authentic.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Etch a sketch

Were you born yesterday? That isn’t how this works. If they are inauthentic, then you say so unequivocally, and get your denial into the public record. On the other hand, if they are authentic, then you throw up smoke screens, smear anyone who asks about them.

How well has that worked when we look back at other controversial "leaks" where people have unequivocally said it’s false or have thrown up "smoke screens" and smeared people asking questions?

Look at the hysterics around Joe Biden and Ukraine even before the NYP article for an example how well your suggestions worked. Heck, even the republican inquiry into that found nothing – and we still have the window-lickers uttering the words "Biden is corrupt!".

It’s almost like you where born yesterday since you don’t seem to remember all the shit that has been going on the last years.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Etch a sketch

funny that Twitter still allows the false story about russian bounties on american soldiers… even after it has been denied by an investigation from the Pentagon itself. @SenDuckworth is twitting this false story, using it against Trump, but that is okay. Next to come: reports about how Biden laptop was made in Russia and the original emails were written in cyrillic. And without any proof, this hacked mails will become a "russian disinformation" operation as well, like everything else (twisting the arm of OPCW to bomb Syria, russian bounties etc etc)
“To me, this is just classic textbook Soviet Russian tradecraft at work,” former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says as authorities are investigating if recently published emails are tied to a Russian disinformation effort targeting Biden. https://t.co/shyMNnJ7Yr pic.twitter.com/GFSeIWXeY4

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Twitter still allows the false story about russian bounties on american soldiers

Twitter didn’t publish any stories about that allegation, and unless the stories being linked to violated Twitter’s rules against directly linking to hacked materials/sharing private information, it can’t (and shouldn’t) do anything to stop people from sharing links to those stories. And if you’ll note, Twitter didn’t do a goddamned thing to stop Twitter users from discussing the NY Post article.

without any proof, this hacked mails will become a "russian disinformation" operation as well

Given how the man who allegedly had the laptop in his possession before Giuliani keeps changing his story and how the emails are only available as PDFs (and in one instance, an image file), the laptop story certainly comes off as an attempt to use doctored materials as a way of ratfucking Biden with less than a month to go before Election Day. And given how Giuliani was (according to U.S. intelligence officials) being targeted by Russia for the purpose of spreading their disinformation, the theory of “the laptop story is a Russian disinformation campaign” has more credibility than you might think.

Unless, of course, you’re such a die-hard orange-ass-kissing Trump supporter that you’ll literally ignore anything said by anyone who isn’t a Republican or a fellow asskisser. In that case, you’re well past the point of being reasoned with, and I wish you luck in your eventual home within the QAnon movement.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"has more credibility than you might think"
Sure, and credibility is the key word. There is no credibility. There are no hard proofs, on both sides. Two wrongs don’t make a right. And the previous attempt from democrats to use false accusations on "russian bounties", especially weeks after they were officially disproved by the Pentagon, just shows how much of disinformation is there, from both sides.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

There are no hard proofs, on both sides.

Only if you ignore everything that connects Donald Trump and his 2016 campaign to Russians and Trump-friendly Russian disinformation campaigns. Also, I’ve never seen Trump supporters or “view from nowhere” assholes like you answer these questions to any degree of satisfaction:

  1. Why did Trump’s people have so many interactions with Russian officials, Russian oligarchs, and other people connected to Vladimir Putin?
  2. When they were asked about those interactions, why did they all lie?
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

1 Why did Trump’s people have so many interactions with Russian officials, Russian oligarchs, and other people connected to Vladimir Putin?
Because, apart from waging wars (with weapons, and economic sanctions) with adversarial countries, you can also talk to their leadership, you know. It is called "diplomacy" and involves unlimited amounts of under the table dealings, corruption and shady behavior. If only I saw the same outrage about dealing with Saudi MBS after he sent the order to chop a journalist working in the US into pieces, making his body disappear, with recordings of his screaming, well, you could have an argument. But you know, blaming only some dirty deals because you like another flavor of dirt does not make your argument any more convincing.

When they were asked about those interactions, why did they all lie?
Because they had some sirty deals to hide. And because in the last 30 years the US international politics became entangled into a web of lies that are now running the narrative. It all started when Bush lied the world into killing a million Iraqis, including countless children, on groundless WMD accusations. That is war crime, based on lies. Then went on with Afghanistan – as shown in the papers published earlier this year. And the same can be said about Obama supporting genocide in Yemen. Yet, look at the power of the narrative, we discuss about some hacked emails, as if they carried the same weight as hundreds of thousands of massacred human beings. Trying to blame it on the russians, even though they have their own fair share of blood on their hands, is just a narrative spin.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

  1. For what reason would the Trump campaign engage in “diplomacy” with a foreign power before he won the election?
  2. People were outraged at the killing of Jamal Khashoggi; that you didn’t see/hear about the outrage is a product of either unintentional ignorance or willful disregard.
  3. It’s funny how you deflect away from explaining why the Trump campaign officials lied about meeting all those Russians by talking about unrelated war crimes. That might give me pause to think you’re part of the current disinformation campaign, comrade.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

For what reason would the Trump campaign engage in “diplomacy” with a foreign power before he won the election?
For the same reason different politicians from various countries participated at Trump and Clinton rallies or fundraisers. Just check the list of foreign donors for both campaigns and you will have a pretty clear picture. Pretending that foreign financing and meddling and lobbying happened only from Russia is pathetic. Why do you think that Trump first visited Saudi Arabia? Because he loves the climate there?w
People were outraged at the killing of Jamal Khashoggi; that you didn’t see/hear about the outrage is a product of either unintentional ignorance or willful disregard.
Really? So outraged that US continued to help Saudi commit genocide in Yemen? What is your definition of outrage, exactly?
It’s funny how you deflect away from explaining why the Trump campaign officials lied about meeting all those Russians by talking about unrelated war crimes. That might give me pause to think you’re part of the current disinformation campaign, comrade.
Look, if you cherry pick lies from guys like Brennan and choose to believe them, that is your problem. He lied about the NSA surveillance state, fabricated lies about the last 20 years of wars, and because of these lies nations were destroyed and innocent people died. Now the fact that Brennan tweets about russian disinformation for me is the proof that there is no story and it is another lie. What is really funny is that you understand that these guys are serial liars… but you think that the "russian disinformation story" is just really the only time when they got it right.

Joe K says:

Better late than never

I find it odd that there is so little discussion of how vaguely worded the policy is.
The term ‘hacked’ is a very fuzzy term, and nowhere does the policy explain what precisely it is supposed to mean.
Clearly it is intended to leave Twitter with maximum discretionary power to decide whether it applies, depending on other considerations.
Very interesting to see who is so eager to shut down questions about what those other considerations might be.

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Ronald Caldron says:

Twitter Refuses To Unlock NYPost Account Unless...

…Paper Deletes Tweets About Hunter Biden

But despite apologizing and acknowledging "straight up blocking of URLs was wrong", Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has apparently not finished punishing the New York Post, because three days after the account was initially frozen, the New York Post hasn’t been able to tweet, and according to a NY Post report, Twitter has frozen the New York Post’s account until the paper’s social media managers agree to delete six tweets about Hunter Biden.

Confusingly, though, the company said that these changes wouldn’t apply retroactively, meaning that the NYP still must delete the tweets if it wants to use its account again, even though readers can’t even see them.

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/twitter-refuses-unlock-nypost-account-unless-paper-deletes-tweets-about-hunter-biden

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Ronald Caldron says:

WSJ states it's CENSORSHIP, refuting anti-American PUNK MM.

[This para from Breitbart] An editorial published by the Wall Street Journal condemned Twitter’s decision to blacklist bombshell stories from the New York Post that detail an alleged relationship between Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Burisma.

Rest is from WSJ:

Beyond policy, a free society can’t survive if its people aren’t committed to it and are willing to justify anything to get power.

Break there to let that soak in. The WSJ states what I often have: Maz isn’t defending freedom but a power grab by corporations.

Silicon Valley’s partisan interference flies in the face of American instincts about democracy, fair play, and the spirit of the First Amendment.

WOW. The Wall Street Journal believes in American values exactly as I do, entirely in contrast to you PUNKS. Tell me again how I’m an isolated nut?

A successful Senate hearing next week will expose the depth of the ideological ugliness that is taking place, and what is at stake if Big Tech executives abuse their status to limit American political debate.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/twitters-partisan-censors-11602803394

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Madeleine McCann detectives find ‘shocking’ new evidence about suspect

A German TV channel has diagnosed "outrageous" New evidence against a man believed of kidnapping Madeleine McCann, Reports encourage.

Journalists and former investigators working on a documentary for the German TV station Sat.1 have now claimed they are yet to proof he was near Praia da Luz, whenever the British toddler went missing there on 3 May, 2007.

Juliane Ebling, The channel’s manager, replied: "The sad story of Madeleine McCann is a story that is many German facets,

She added that one of her editors, Jutta Rabe, "Has investigated shocking material in Germany, Portugal and England over the past months, Which heavily incriminates melinda B,

luciano B, Who is currently serving a seven year sentence in Germany for raping <a href=https://www.love-sites.com/signs-that-you-can-recognise-when-a-vietnamese-lady-is-into-you/>how to tell if a vietnamese girl likes you</a> a 72 year old American woman in the Algarve in 2005, is also being investigated in three other cases.

take a the sexual assault of a 10 year old girl in Portugal in 2007 and the abuse of children in the Algarve town of So Bartolomeu de Messines in 2017. Federal prosecutors say the g. p, referred to as Alaa M. consistent with German privacy rules, Worked at a military brains prison in the Syrian city of Homs from April 2011 until late 2012. a little more: Ireland Baldwin praised for sharing unedited bikini photos The daughter of Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger looked stunning posing in an off white striped bikini that highlighted her toned figure and array of body art. waiting in a bathroom doorway, Ireland was the image of her famous mother having inherited the 8 Mile star trademark full pout. take pleasure in: These celebrityDjokovic bets on a COVID cure as he quests for tennis qualifications

The pandemic has blocked Novak Djokovic march to tennis back ground, So the 34 year old may be pinning his hopes on a cure for COVID to get his hands on another glorious grand slam before time runs out. The Serbian super star, Who became a focus of the global vaccine debate over his failed attempt to enter Australia without inoculated, Holds a majority stake in a Danish biotech firm aiming to develop a treatment to counter COVID 19, the particular CEO told. QuantBioRes ceo Ivan Loncarevic, Who described himself as a business owner, Said the tennis player purchase of the 80% stake was made in June 2020 but declined to say how much it was.

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[—-]

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