The Atlantic published a column on Thursday in which it condemned Twitter’s decision to censor a bombshell story from the New York Post that detailed the alleged relationship between Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, and Burisma. According to the article, Twitter’s censorship “sets a bizarre precedent, implying that the company might become an arbiter of journalistic rigor or public interest.”
In a column published on Thursday by the Atlantic, writer Kaitlyn Tiffany scolded Twitter over its decision to restrict sharing on a New York Post story that leaked details about an alleged relationship between Joe Biden and a Ukrainian energy firm.
The decision to block the story was allegedly based on Twitter’s “hacked information” policy, which permits the platform to remove content that was achieved by a computer hacker. However, there is little evidence to suggest that the information leaked in the story was obtained by hacking. For this reason, Tiffany argues in her column that Twitter’s decision to censor the story was “arbitrary.”
But it’s hard to see how linking to a news outlet would constitute “directly” distributing hacked content, or how Twitter would apply this interpretation of its own rules consistently, when plenty of legitimate journalism involves reporting on leaks and hacks of private information pertaining to public figures. It’s an arbitrary decision. (That said, some journalists have suggested that the hacked emails might have been planted by a foreign government, raising questions about whether Twitter and other platforms can or will differentiate between government leaks with legitimate journalistic value and documents of questionable provenance distributed solely to sow discord.
Tiffany goes on to argue that the decision to restrict access to the story on the platform significantly impacts the conversation about a platform’s ability to gain public trust.
Twitter has made real strides to become a safer and more useful website, but the company’s choice to ban one link without a prompt, coherent explanation cheapens that progress. It sets a bizarre precedent, implying that the company might become an arbiter of journalistic rigor or public interest. It derails the conversation around platform accountability and offers free fodder to conspiracy theorists, many of whom were thrilled to have it. Limiting the spread of conspiracism has been a driving force behind many of Twitter’s moderation decisions this year. Letting unanswered questions swirl for hours around a politically charged controversy only had the opposite effect.
Breitbart News reported on Thursday that conservative commentator Jack Posobiec was locked out of his Twitter account after sharing a meme that referenced the New York Post story.
Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more updates on this story.