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In its latest confusing decision, Twitter reinstates The New York Post

In its latest confusing decision, Twitter reinstates The New York Post

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It is incredible that this is still happening

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Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The New York Post is back on Twitter, after Twitter updated its policy on policy changes. This story is going to be confusing, but not as confusing as Twitter’s attempts at moderation.

To recap: On October 14th, The New York Post published a (contested and possibly part of a disinformation campaign, though this is absolutely not the point I am here to tell you about) story about Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden. Very little of the contents of the Post story are pertinent to the discussion we are about to have, except this: some of the materials in it, Twitter alleges, seem to be the result of hacking.

Got all that so far? Great, there’s more

Twitter suspended The New York Post’s account for six tweets that linked to the story and blocked links to the story in question, citing its hacked materials policy, as well as a policy about private information. This caused, perhaps predictably, a massive uproar. On October 15th, Twitter’s trust and safety lead, Vijaya Gadde, tweeted that Twitter’s hacked materials policy would change, and the company would “no longer remove hacked content unless it is directly shared by hackers or those acting in concert with them.”

On October 16th, Jack Dorsey tweeted that blocking the URL “was wrong,” and a Twitter spokesperson told The New York Times that the information that was previously “private information” had spread so widely that it no longer counted as “private.” Therefore, the Post article no longer violated the private information policy.

Got all that so far? Great, there’s more. Despite inspiring the policy change on hacked materials and no longer violating the policy on private information, The New York Post remained suspended, because of a different policy. See, Twitter has a policy on policy changes. If you were, say, a tabloid that had been suspended because of an old policy, a new policy wouldn’t supercede your suspension. Not even if you’d inspired the new policy.

So today, Twitter has updated its policy on policy changes, and The New York Post is taking a victory lap.

It didn’t have to go like this. Facebook, for instance, chose to limit the article’s reach while fact-checkers combed through it — but the company didn’t remove it. Basically, Facebook triggered its “virality circuit breaker,” which, as Casey Newton points out, allowed The Post to post without giving it unwarranted lift, in case the article was disinformation. That decision was also controversial, but it was less severe.

Here we are, one Senate hearing and two policy changes later

Pilfered documents are unquestionably part of the journalistic tradition. This tradition was particularly part of the 2016 presidential election, when reporters published stories with emails from the Democratic National Committee that had been obtained through hacking. As a result, platforms began planning for what they would do in case of a similar 2020 hack-and-leak operation. Twitter evidently felt that The New York Post’s article rose to that level.

Anyway, the Republican party called foul on the whole thing and made everyone sit through a tiresome Senate hearing on October 28th.

So, here we are, one Senate hearing and two policy changes later. Insofar as it is possible to draw a moral from this bizarre saga, it seems to be this: Twitter’s moderation still doesn’t make any damn sense. But congratulations to them on updating their policy on policy changes.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

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Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.


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Twitter
Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.


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External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.


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External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.


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Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


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Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.


A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
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Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


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Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.