Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the company’s actions surrounding its blocking of a New York Post article related to a negative news story of Hunter Biden, former vice president Joe Biden’s son, was “unacceptable.”
“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 wrote on Twitter late Wednesday.
— jack (@jack) October 14, 2020
Dorsey’s statement linked to a Twitter statement that detailed why it blocked the article’s spread. The statement was released around the same time as Dorsey’s statement.
“We know we have more work to do to provide clarity in our product when we enforce our rules in this manner. We should provide additional clarity and context when preventing the Tweeting or DMing of URLs that violate our policies,” the company said. “We recognize that Twitter is just one of many places where people can find information online, and the Twitter Rules are intended to protect the conversation on our service, and to add context to people’s experience where we can.”
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) promptly responded to Dorsey’s Twitter post, calling Dorsey’s announcement “a joke” and “downright insulting.”
“.@Twitter@jack this is not nearly good enough. In fact, it’s a joke. It’s downright insulting,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will ask you – and @Facebook- to give an explanation UNDER OATH to the Senate subcommittee I chair. These are potential violations of election law, and that’s a crime.”
.@Twitter @jack this is not nearly good enough. In fact, it’s a joke. It’s downright insulting. I will ask you – and @Facebook – to give an explanation UNDER OATH to the Senate subcommittee I chair. These are potential violations of election law, and that’s a crime https://t.co/Rylva8UJv9
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 15, 2020
The senator earlier in the day called on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to investigate Twitter and Facebook for potential illegal in-kind contributions to the Biden campaign, after the two companies limited the spread of a news story about Hunter Biden, son of former vice president and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The article, published early Wednesday, centered on alleged documents and photographs from a hard drive obtained by the New York Post, which included an alleged email indicating that Hunter allegedly introduced his father, who was serving as the vice president, to a top Ukrainian natural gas executive at Hunter’s request. The article said that “hacked materials” where used in the story. The Epoch Times has not independently verified the NYP’s claims.
Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden at the reviewing stand to watch President Barrack Obama’s Inaugural Parade from in front of the White House in Washington on Jan. 20, 2009. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
The Biden campaign refuted the report, saying it reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and that “no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”
Twitter had blocked users from sharing the article. The New York Post said that the social media giant also blocked its Twitter account, which became inactive in the afternoon and continues to be inactive as of late Wednesday.
A Facebook spokesman said that the company was “reducing its [the article’s] distribution” before it’s reviewed by one of its fact-checkers.
“This is part of our standard process to reduce the spread of misinformation,” he said.
A Twitter spokesperson told news outlets in a statement, “In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter.”
Later on Oct. 14, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee posted the text of the Post article on its website so people could share it on Twitter that way.
Petr Svab contributed to this report.