Twitter’s new “hacked material” warning label: Here’s what it means

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Twitter appears to have started labeling tweets with its “hacked material” warning, which contain links to news based on hacked or leaked documents. The update isn’t entirely new, as the microblogging network briefly blocked links to the New York Post’s history last October, which is said to be based on material obtained from a laptop from US President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. However, it overtook the initial decision after facing public outrage. However, it seems that Twitter is now spreading the warning label more widely.

Like reported for the first time by Mashable, Twitter added the hacked material warning tag to a tweet posted by the independent news website The Grayzone. The label reads: “These materials may have been obtained by hacking.” distribution of hacked materials’.

Twitter tagged tweet shared by The Grayzone with “hacked material” warning

The tweeting The issue, published on February 20, includes a link that tells the story of hacked and leaked documents that allegedly show the involvement of the BBC and Reuters in a program set up by the UK government. This program was said to “weaken Russia’s state influence.”

Some Twitter users shared the same link through their accounts, and these tweets also included the same warning label.

In addition to this particular link to The Grayzone, a separate tweet containing the link to an Italian shop also included the “hacked materials” warning label. This link is related to a tweet about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine and was published on January 16. Similarly, another tweet featuring a music video by English singer Rick Astley shared on February 24 he wore the same label.

At the time of writing, Twitter has not responded to a request for comment on the update.

Last year, Twitter blocked links to the history of the New York Post, which talks about materials related to Hunter Biden’s laptop. Initially, the company restricted users from retrieving and sharing links to history, even in direct messages on the platform. However, he updated his policy on “hacked material” after facing criticism from users for blocking access to news material.

“Under this policy, we may label or apply warning messages to tweets containing or linked to real or synthesized hacked material where those tweets do not constitute direct distribution,” the updated policy he says.

Twitter also mentions in the policy that in cases “where the discussion or reporting of hacking or hacking material constitutes an indirect dissemination (unless the people or groups directly involved in the hack are responsible for producing the discussions or reporting)”, this would lead to in a label or warning message.

It is not yet clear what the “hacked material” is and whether Twitter has an exception for investigative journalism.

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