Technology

In reversal, Twitter lets users link to unverified New York Post report

The company also appeared to stop displaying a warning for users who clicked on the report.

Twitter Birds

Twitter reversed course Friday on blocking users from posting an unverified New York Post report alleging ties between Joe Biden and his son’s business interests, hours after reaffirming a ban that drew a firestorm of criticism from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies.

A striking and sudden about-face: The social media company announced late Thursday it was changing some of the rules that the Post’s report ran afoul of, but reaffirmed that it would still bar users from posting links to the article since it violated a separate policy against publishing user’s private personal information. The report contains images that include individuals’ email addresses.

Users on Friday, however, successfully shared links to the original article, including at least one Republican lawmaker and an opinion writer for the New York Post.

“You can now share the bombshell story Big Tech didn’t want you to see,” tweeted Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), along with a link to the Post’s Wednesday report.

Later Friday, Twitter said it stopped blocking the links because the private information contained in the report is now widely available on other platforms and in the press.

The company also stopped displaying a warning for users who clicked on the report — a step it had taken Wednesday to limit the report’s circulation amid scrutiny of its claims.

Facebook said Wednesday it would limit distribution of but not block users from posting the article pending potential review by third-party fact-checkers. A Facebook spokesperson said Friday the company's handling of the report remains unchanged.

Content moderation under fire: Republicans ratcheted up their attacks on Twitter and Facebook after they moved Wednesday to limit access to the article, with Senate Republicans demanding the companies’ CEOs testify on the matter before Congress and reigniting calls to revamp the legal shield that protects them and other internet companies from many lawsuits.

The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google are slated to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee later this month at a hearing drilling into those legal protections, and the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday will vote on whether to authorize subpoenas for Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for a potential separate session.

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