Twitter begins labelling tweets containing news based on hacked or leaked documents

by Emma

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The label has since also been spotted on several other unrelated tweets.

Twitter hacked materials warning: Microblogging platform Twitter has now seemingly started labelling content with its “hacked materials” warning in case the post contains news related to leaked or hacked documents. This comes a few months after Twitter had blocked for some time a news story by New York Post in October 2020 because it had been allegedly based on material that had been taken from the laptop of Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden. The original decision, however, had to be withdrawn by the microblogging site after public outrage.

Now, though, the microblogging platform is displaying the label more prominently.

The warning came to light when a story shared by The Grayzone news organisation was tagged with the Twitter label “The materials may have been obtained through hacking”. The label is linked to the company’s policy on distribution of hacked material. The tweet was about a news article which allegedly showed BBC and Reuters’ participation in a UK government programme to weaken the state influence of Russia.

With Twitter’s new label, if a user tries to retweet a post containing such a warning, the user gets a pop-up which more prominently states that the material could have been obtained through hacking, asking users to confirm that they wished to share such a post. Accordingly, the shared tweets also contain the same warning.

The label has since also been spotted on several other unrelated tweets, one of them being a tweet by an Italian outlet about Pfizer’s vaccine for COVID-19.

Notably, after Twitter faced flak for blocking the story based on material from Hunter Biden’s laptop, the company updated its policy for hacked materials, which states that the company can apply warning labels to the posts which contain or link to hacked materials, real or synthesised, in cases where these tweets were not constituting direct distribution.

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