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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

Nov 17, 2020 - Technology

Facebook and Twitter CEOs to defend their firms at Senate hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool via Getty Images

At a Senate hearing Tuesday morning, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey will stress their companies' work to limit online misinformation and will endorse updating tech's prized liability shield as long as Congress doesn't blow it up.

Why it matters: Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects online platforms from lawsuits over moderation calls and user-posted content, and many policymakers view amending or even eliminating the law as their best lever to change how companies govern online speech.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.

3 hours ago - Technology

Biden's openings for tech progress

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images 

Item No. 1 on President-elect Joe Biden's day-one tech agenda, controlling the flood of misinformation online, offers no fast fixes — but other tech issues facing the new administration hold out opportunities for quick action and concrete progress.

What to watch: Closing the digital divide will be a high priority, as the pandemic has exposed how many Americans still lack reliable in-home internet connections and the devices needed to work and learn remotely.