Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says blocking New York Post story was ‘wrong’

Jack Dorsey, CEO of Square Inc., holds an Apple Inc. iPhone while standing outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.

Yana Paskova | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on Friday reiterated his apology for how the company handled an unverified New York Post report claiming to contain a “smoking gun” email related to presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son.

“Straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix. Our goal is to attempt to add context, and now we have capabilities to do that,” Dorsey said in a tweet.

The New York Post story alleges then-Vice President Biden’s son Hunter Biden attempted to introduce to a top executive at a Ukrainian company Hunter Biden worked for to his father. A spokesman for the Biden campaign denied the claims.

Twitter chose to restrict the distribution of the story, citing its hacked material policy, which doesn’t “permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking that contains private information, may put people in physical harm or danger, or contains trade secrets.” The company later said that it blocked the story’s link specifically because it contained images of hacked material with personal and private information.

Twitter faced swift backlash from conservatives and President Donald Trump for its decision to restrict the report.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx. told reporters Thursday alongside Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that the committee would vote next week whether to subpoena Dorsey for a hearing in front of their committee next Friday.

Cruz later told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Thursday that Twitter’s actions “marked a dramatic escalation and it crossed a new line.” He argued that blocking the article was tantamount to “election interference” and questioned Twitter’s liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

In response, the company late Thursday updated its policy on hacked materials after receiving “significant feedback,” it said. Twitter will no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them. Twitter will also label tweets to provide context instead of blocking links from being shared on the social media platform.

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