Twitter Now Adding ‘Hacked Materials’ Warning Label to Tweets

February 24th, 2021 2:59 PM

Big Tech was once seen as a haven for whistleblowers and journalists. But Twitter has changed all that and has been using its tools to besmirch news outlets for reportedly exposing nefarious government activity.

After years of enabling leaks about former President Donald Trump’s administration, such as leaked audio of former First Lady Melania Trump, to go viral, Twitter has begun using labels to slime some outlets. The Grayzone published a damning study claiming “The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have sponsored Reuters and the BBC to conduct a series of covert programs aimed at promoting regime change inside Russia and undermining its government, according to a series of leaked documents.”

The study was initially published on Feb. 20, but since then, the tweet announcing it has been condemned by Twitter with a label. 

The aforementioned post by The Grayzone illustrated a claim that could be scandalous if it is ultimately shown to be true:

“Leaked files show Reuters” & the BBC’s role in covert British Foreign Office programs to effect “attitudinal change” & “weaken the Russian state’s influence”

They were joined by intel contractors and outlets like Bellingcat.

@MaxBlumenthal investigates[.]

The tweet was labelled with a warning “These materials may have been obtained through hacking.” The label linked to Twitter’s “Distribution of hacked materials” policy. “The use of hacks and hacking to exfiltrate information from private computer systems can be used to manipulate the public conversation, and makes all of us less secure online,” Twitter’s policy page explained. “We do not condone attempts to compromise or infiltrate computer systems. As such, we don’t permit the use of our services to directly distribute content obtained through hacking by the people or groups associated with a hack.”

Twitter’s meddling with this post reportedly goes beyond mere labelling.

Mashable observed: “Furthermore, readers discovered that an extra step was added when trying to retweet posts linking to The Grayzone’s story: A pop-up appeared reiterating the warning label and asking users to ‘help keep Twitter a place for reliable info.’” Mashable pointed out recent apparent hypocrisy on Twitter’s part:

However, some Twitter users have pointed out that the New York Times story on Ted Cruz’s trip to Cancun was based on leaked text messages from the senator’s wife. Yet, they point out, there is no warning label placed on tweets linking to that story even though it appears to fall under Twitter’s own ‘distribution of hacked materials’ policy.

The hypocrisy doesn’t end there, not by a longshot. Twitter outright banned guerilla journalism outlet Project Veritas from the platform. 

Twitter cracked down on Project Veritas and its founder James O’Keefe in early February. “Twitter has just LOCKED DOWN James O’Keefe’s and the Project Veritas account for reporting on Facebook VP Guy Rosen and his statements that Facebook ‘freezes’ comments in places that algorithms think there ‘may be’ hate speech,” Project Veritas reported on its Facebook page.

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