Dispute over article blockade: After a report on dubious email from Biden-Sohn: Now Twitter is changing its rules
Following the controversy over blocking a controversial newspaper article about Joe Biden, Twitter is changing its rules for dealing with hacked content. In future, they would only be blocked if they were published directly by the hackers.
The Twitter manager Vijaya Gadde announced on Friday night. The short message service wanted to take account of the unintended consequences for journalists, among others.
The New York Post reported on Wednesday that an email that was found on a notebook in a repair shop indicated a meeting between presidential candidate Joe Biden and a business partner of his son Hunter Biden in 2015. A spokesman for Biden’s campaign team told Politico that there had never been such a meeting. Biden always said he hadn’t talked to his son about his business activities. US President Donald Trump is trying to draw attention to the report just three weeks before the election.
The supervisory authority also wants to revise the rules
From Wednesday afternoon onwards, Twitter did not allow users to publish or send any more links to the article and initially justified this with a violation of rules for content stolen by hacking. The service later pointed out that the alleged mails depicted in the report contained undisguised e-mail addresses. The procedure sparked criticism from the Republicans.
The head of the telecommunications regulator FCC, Ajit Pai, announced in the wake of the controversy that his authority wanted to clarify a rule that has been in force since the 1990s, which regulates the handling of content on online platforms. The provisions of “Section 230” are sometimes interpreted too broadly, which offers Internet companies too far-reaching protection.
Trump calls for the abolition of “Section 230”
According to “Section 230”, online services are not held liable for content published by users. At the same time, it gives them extensive freedom to take action against certain content or users. The regulation has significantly shaped today’s web. Trump accuses Facebook and Twitter of suppressing conservative views and calls for the abolition of “Section 230”. All news about the US election can be found in the news ticker from FOCUS Online
In 2018, Twitter introduced rules against the dissemination of material from hacker attacks, including in response to the publication of e-mails from the Democratic Party allegedly stolen by Russian attackers in the final spurt of the 2016 US election campaign.
Twitter would still have taken action against articles in the “New York Post”
In the meantime, new instruments such as warning notices have been introduced in the short message service, Twitter manager Gadde justified the changes. Therefore, in future, the links will usually be provided with warnings instead of preventing their distribution. The rules against the publication of personal information remained unchanged, stressed Gadde.
Twitter would have taken action against the article in the “New York Post” anyway – which also applies to a follow-up post on Thursday. Emails reported that Hunter Biden tried to profit from his father’s office as US Vice President at a Chinese company.
Visually impaired workshop owner cannot verify Hunter Biden’s identity
The authenticity of the mails has not been confirmed. It is also questionable how the emails found their way to the public. The “New York Post” received a copy of the hard drive of the notebook from Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, at the weekend. The copy was made by the owner of the repair shop before the laptop was confiscated by the FBI in December 2019.
The owner of the workshop told the broadcaster CBS that a man who identified himself as Hunter Biden had returned three laptops to him in April 2019. However, he could not confirm the identity because he was visually impaired.
Investigators check whether foreign intelligence is behind the e-mail story
The broadcaster NBC reported that US investigators were checking whether there was a connection between the e-mails allegedly found on the computer with a foreign intelligence operation.
Trump has long tried to attack Biden over his son’s previous activities in China and Ukraine. His confidante Giuliani is a key figure. He had tried to get Ukraine to investigate Biden. The Washington Post reported, citing four ex-government officials, that US intelligence agencies had warned the White House last year that Giuliani was the target of a Russian intelligence operation. Fears have been expressed that Giuliani will be used to pass false Russian information directly to the President.
Hunter Biden was on the supervisory board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma
Trump’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien warned Trump in a personal conversation that information that Giuliani would bring with him from Ukraine should be considered “contaminated by Russia,” reported the Washington Post. Trump is said to have just shrugged his shoulders.
Hunter Biden was a member of the supervisory board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma between 2014 and 2019. Trump accused Biden, among other things, of using his vice-presidency to try to protect his son from the Ukrainian judiciary. Biden rejects that. Trump wanted to get investigations in Ukraine. The conflict sparked impeachment proceedings against Trump, which failed in February due to a Republican majority in the Senate.