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Twitter allows links to N.Y. Post story on Biden, backtracking again

The Twitter Inc. logo is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone.
The Twitter Inc. logo is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone.Alex FLynn/Photographer: Alex FLynn/Bloombe

(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. is no longer restricting people from sharing links to a controversial New York Post story that contains potentially damaging allegations about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Twitter on Wednesday started blocking the link, citing a policy forbidding users from sharing another person’s personal information without their consent, and a separate policy forbidding the sharing of hacked documents.

On Thursday night, Twitter changed its hacked materials policy, saying it would no longer block the distribution of hacked material unless the hacker was circulating it. The company also decided that the personal information contained in emails that were part of the New York Post report are now so widely distributed that it’s no longer a violation of its private information rule, a spokesman said. The New York Times earlier reported Twitter’s decision.

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The New York Post story, which alleged that Biden had improper connections to an executive at a Ukrainian energy firm and has not been independently confirmed by Bloomberg, is now shareable on Twitter. The FBI probed whether the purported emails are part of a Russian disinformation campaign, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

The process over the controversial story offered a stark reminder that companies like Twitter and Facebook Inc. are still evolving important policies just weeks before the U.S. election. Twitter has tried to fight potentially dangerous misinformation and disinformation related to the election and Covid-19, and has been more aggressive than Facebook in policing President Donald Trump’s use of the service this year.

That policing has prompting calls of bias and censorship from Republican politicians, which continued this week in the wake of the New York Post story. Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and GOP Senator Ted Cruz told reporters Thursday morning that they will vote next week to subpoena Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey to appear before the committee to answer questions about its policies.

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