“The Internet and other interactive computer services offer a forum for or a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.”
That’s an excerpt from Section 230, the part of the federal code that regulates the internet.
Back in 1996, when it was passed by Congress as part of the Communications Decency Act, Section 230 gave internet services legal protections unavailable to mere newspapers like The Star-Ledger.
If a newspaper were to print something libelous, the publisher could be sued. But under Section 230 “No provider or user of an interactive computer services shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
The idea was that the few such services then in existence – remember Compuserve and Prodigy? – were virtual bulletin boards on which information could be exchanged between willing parties.
Twitter earlier this week banned an article published by the New York Post regarding the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The report was based in part on files and emails that the Post said were taken from Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Twitter’s decision to ban a story published by a conservative-leaning publication without explanation seemed to affirm Republicans’ long-held theory that Big Tech is biased against the right.
The move undermined what Twitter has said is its mission to implement fair moderation policies and limit disinformation on its platform, especially ahead of one of the most important presidential elections in modern US history.
Twitter has reversed its decision to block users from sharing an unsubstantiated article from the New York Post about former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter, The New York Times reports.
The company had previously stopped users from being able to post the story about alleged emails between a Ukrainian energy executive and Hunter Biden, citing its policy against sharing private information and against distributing “content obtained without authorization.” But after facing backlash especially among Republicans including President Trump, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Friday that blocking links to the story “was wrong,” and the company altered its policies so that it “will no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them,” per BuzzFeed News.
When Twitter announced changes to its policy on hacked materials on Thursday, the Hunter Biden article was still being blocked because Twitter said it violated
Twitter is keeping itself in front of the political firing line by inconsistently applying policy to a series of unconfirmed reports by the New York Post about Joe Biden’s son Hunter — moves Republicans have slammed as censorship and election interference.
The social network initially banned the Post’s story Wednesday about Hunter Biden’s alleged attempts to influence his father, Joe Biden, to try to shut down a probe into Ukrainian energy company Burisma and another claiming Hunter tried to leverage his father’s status as VP in the Obama administration to boost his compensation from Burisma. Originally, Twitter said the Post’s stories — based on info furnished by Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer — violated its “hacked materials” policy, as they included information purportedly harvested from a laptop of uncertain origin. Twitter did an about-face Friday to allow users to tweet them.
Yesterday, CEO Jack Dorsey admitted blocking URLs without
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says the company was wrong to block weblinks to an unverified political story, a move that had prompted cries of censorship from the right
By KELVIN CHAN Associated Press
October 17, 2020, 12:13 AM
• 3 min read
Twitter was wrong to block weblinks to an unverified political story, CEO Jack Dorsey said on Friday, as the company responded to criticism over its handling of the story that had prompted cries of censorship from the right.
“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix,” he tweeted. “Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that.”
After initially blocking people from sharing links to the story Wednesday, on Friday Twitter was letting its users to post the link. It served as demonstration of how
Twitter TWTR has changed its mind and will let a dubious New York Post report on Hunter Biden be shared on its platform following several days of intense criticism from Republicans and ahead of CEO Jack Dorsey’s Congressional testimony next week.
It’s a complete reversal from Wednesday when the Post published its story and Twitter blocked users from sharing its URL. At the time, Twitter said the Post story contained hacked material and personal information and sharing those things were against its rules. (Worth noting: It’s not clear if the material cited by the Post is a genuine hack—or if they’re forgeries. Twitter nonetheless decided to treat it as an actual hack.) Facebook also throttled the distribution
President Trump on Friday tweeted a fake news story published by the Babylon Bee, a satirical website aimed at Christian conservatives, mocking Twitter for blocking users from sharing an unconfirmed report about Joe Biden’s son.
The president apparently didn’t realize the story he was sharing was a joke.
Twitter Shuts Down Entire Network To Slow Spread Of Negative Biden News https://t.co/JPmjOrKPcr via @TheBabylonBee Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T
The social media platform did block users from sharing a New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine, based on questions about its veracity. And Twitter service was out for a time on Thursday afternoon, resulting from an unrelated technical glitch.
President Donald Trump on Friday shared a story from a known news satire website seemingly in earnest, using the fake report to blast Twitter’s handling of dubious allegations against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The story tweeted by the president early Friday morning was published by The Babylon Bee — which bills itself online as “the world’s best satire site” — and stated that Twitter had “shut down its entire social network” Thursday to stop the spread of negative news about Biden.
Trump appeared to take the report seriously when he tweeted it from his own account, writing: “Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T.”
Trump issued his tweet shortly after 6 a.m. Eastern Time, just hours after both he and Biden participated in dueling town
Twitter blocked attempts to share a copy of the New York Post’s story regarding Hunter Biden’s contentious business affairs that was posted to the official website of House Judiciary Republicans.
Users reported they were unable to share the link from the lawmakers’ website, as Twitter reported it as “potentially harmful.” When users try to click on the link, Twitter flagged the material with a warning label, saying it could be “spammy” or “unsafe.”
The House Judiciary Republicans’ account later tweeted that they put another copy of the story on the committee’s ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan’s website, which seemed to do the trick.
“Twitter censored our last link! So, we put the article on @Jim_Jordan‘s website. Nice try, @jack. But, we won’t stop. Click, share, and RT!” the committee’s account tweeted.
Twitter has blocked users from tweeting the link to the @nypost‘s story on Hunter Biden.
A Wilmington computer repairman who reportedly gave a copy of Hunter Biden’s laptop hard drive to Rudy Giuliani’s attorney, Brian Costello, spoke cryptically Wednesday about his arrangement last month with the Republican operative.
In a winding interview with the media, John Paul Mac Isaac, owner of The Mac Shop in Wilmington, recalled how in April 2019 a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden brought three liquid-damaged laptops to his small repair shop in the Trolley Square shopping center.
Only one was left for repair, he said. No one returned to retrieve it, he said.
In the subsequent year and a half, Mac Isaac said, a “whole lot of” players were involved in the story that ended with President Donald Trump