- The Washington Times - Friday, October 30, 2020

Twitter said Friday evening that it restored the New York Post’s ability to tweet following a change to the policy that the social media giant used to justify restrictions placed on the Post’s account.

Earlier this month, Twitter blocked users from sharing New York Post articles involving Hunter Biden’s emails that reflect poorly on the presidential campaign of his father, Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden. Twitter prevented its users from sharing and sending the articles via direct message as well, and prevented users who had done so from continuing to tweet — including the New York Post.

Twitter published a series of tweets from its @TwitterSafety account announcing its decision to restore the New York Post’s access after a change in policy and said, “Our policies are living documents.”

“[W]e’re updating our practice of not retroactively overturning prior enforcement,” said Twitter in a tweet from its @TwitterSafety account on Friday. “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.”

Twitter continued, “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.”

The New York Post celebrated the news on Twitter with a picture of its newspaper’s front page saying “Free Bird!” in a tweet announcing “We’re baaaaaaack.”

Twitter’s decision to lift its crackdown on the New York Post appeared unlikely in public all week. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended his company’s decision to block the newspaper from publishing on his platform at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, citing the company’s hacked materials policy.

“We didn’t want Twitter to be a distributor for hacked materials,” Mr. Dorsey said at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Wednesday. “We found that the New York Post, because it showed the direct materials, screenshots of the direct materials, and it was unclear how those were obtained, that it fell under this policy.”

Mr. Dorsey did not explain which specific screenshots he believed to be the result of a hack.

The New York Post also faced pressure from its media colleagues to give in to Twitter’s demands and regain access to its account. Twitter had indicated that if the New York Post deleted tweets that violated its old policy, then the social media company would soon restore the newspaper’s ability to publish on its platform. CNN personality Jake Tapper called on the New York Post to give in to Twitter’s demands on Friday morning.

“Since twitter has locked out the NYPost for violating rules that no longer stand as rules (but twitter won’t revisit) past enforcement decisions) the NY Post COULD end this standoff by deleting the tweets that broke the rules (thus unlocking its account) then tweet them out again,” Mr. Tapper tweeted to his 2.7 million followers.

Mr. Tapper tweeted that a Twitter executive assured him the New York Post’s access would be restored probably within 15 seconds if the Post caved. The CNN personality later noted that Twitter could choose to end the high-profile standoff as well.

Ultimately, Twitter decided to end the standoff first and restored the New York Post’s access on Friday evening.

• Ryan Lovelace can be reached at rlovelace@washingtontimes.com.

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