Fresh wave of backlash when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey falls short of apology for stifling NYP’s Hunter Biden story

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sparked a wave of backlash after he issued what many saw as a non-apology for the company’s outright censorship of a story on Hunter Biden.

Hours after Twitter came under heavy fire for blocking tweets linking to a New York Post report on leaked emails connected to former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Dorsey cited company policies in an effort to explain the partisan censorship. But many were not buying his explanation and called it out as another example of “election interference.”

Dorsey admitted Wednesday that it was “unacceptable” for the social media company to block sharing of the New York Post story that was published earlier that day.

The bombshell report shared a leaked email that allegedly showed communication between Hunter Biden and a top executive of the Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. The email indicated that the younger Biden had arranged a meeting between the official and his father who was vice president at the time. The Biden campaign denied that any such meeting ever occurred.

(Screengrab: YouTube/Wired)

The Post’s primary Twitter account was locked after the story came out and users were blocked from sharing it, setting off a firestorm of criticism against the tech company, and even Facebook which limited distribution of the original story.

“Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable,” Dorsey tweeted Wednesday in a statement meant to “provide much needed clarity.”

The Twitter Safety account then tried to explain the company’s policies and the enforcement of its rules.

“The images contained in the articles include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules. As noted this morning, we also currently view materials included in the articles as violations of our Hacked Materials Policy,” the account tweeted.

“Commentary on or discussion about hacked materials, such as articles that cover them but do not include or link to the materials themselves, aren’t a violation of this policy,” the explanation continued. “Our policy only covers links to or images of hacked material themselves.”

“We don’t want to incentivize hacking by allowing Twitter to be used as distribution for possibly illegally obtained materials,” the Twitter Safety account added, essentially apologizing for not clarifying the policies rather than addressing the censorship itself.

The rules, Twitter explained, “are intended to protect the conversation on our service, and to add context to people’s experience where we can.”

This attempt to “clarify” backfired as it sparked another round of outrage with critics slamming Dorsey for the “selective” enforcement of policies, such as the many times Twitter allowed unverified and anonymously sourced reports on President Trump to be shared.

 

Frieda Powers

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