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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Twitter on Friday reinstated the New York Post's account after the social media platform faced backlash for limiting the circulation of the newspaper's reports about alleged Hunter Biden material earlier this month.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Ashley Gold: Twitter's latest move shows how fraught it is for social media companies to be making content moderation policy decisions on the fly just days before an election.

What they're saying: "Our policies are living documents. We're willing to update and adjust them when we encounter new scenarios or receive important feedback from the public. One such example is the recent change to our Hacked Materials Policy and its impact on accounts like the New York Post," Twitter said in a tweet announcing the revised rule.

  • "In response, we’re updating our practice of not retroactively overturning prior enforcement. Decisions made under policies that are subsequently changed & published can now be appealed if the account at issue is a driver of that change. We believe this is fair and appropriate."
  • "This means that because a specific @nypost enforcement led us to update the Hacked Materials Policy, we will no longer restrict their account under the terms of the previous policy and they can now Tweet again."

Context: The Post had been cut off from tweeting since Oct. 14 — the date it published the first in a series of stories based on the alleged Biden material.

  • Twitter said at the time that linking to those New York Post articles on Biden violated its rules against posting material with personal information and that which is obtained via hacking.
  • Twitter reversed course on Oct. 16 and permitted the Post's story to be linked in tweets. But the social media company insisted the paper delete its previous tweets, saying they violated Twitter's policy at the time they were posted.

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Technology

Facebook Oversight Board overturns 4 of its 5 first cases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook's independent Oversight Board published its first set of decisions Thursday, overturning four of the five cases it chose to review out of 20,000 cases submitted.

Why it matters: The decision to go against Facebook's conclusions in four out of five instances gives legitimacy to the board, which is funded via a $130 million grant from Facebook.

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

First-time homebuyers shrink as prices spike

Data: National Association of Realtors; Chart: Axios Visuals

Home sales cooled as prices continued to heat up in August.

Driving the news: The share of first-time existing homebuyers (29%) last month was the smallest in two years, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.