Twitter said late Thursday it was changing its policy on hacked content after an outcry about its handling of an unverified political story that sparked cries of censorship from the right.
An executive tweeted that the social media company will no longer remove hacked material unless it’s directly shared by hackers or those working with them. Instead of blocking links from being shared, tweets will be labeled to provide context.
Twitter and Facebook had moved quickly this week to limit the spread of the story published by the conservative-leaning New York Post, which cited unverified emails regarding Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s relationship with Ukraine between him and his son, Hunter.
The origins of the story also trace back to Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who has repeatedly pushed unfounded claims about Biden and his son. Even if the emails in the Post are legitimate, they don’t validate Trump and Giuliani’s claims that Biden’s actions were influenced by his son’s business dealings in Ukraine.
The email reportedly is from Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Ukranian energy company Burisma. Pozharskyi wrote to thank Biden "for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent (sic) some time together. It’s realty (sic) an honor and pleasure.”
Giuliani claims the emails were taken from a laptop that was dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop in 2019, which was never picked up by the owner. The Post reported that the shop owner could not positively identify whose laptop the emails were taken from, but said the computer had a sticker for the Beau Biden Foundation.
The Biden campaign told the Associated Press that it could not find a meeting between the then vice president and Pozharskyi on Biden's schedule.