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Twitter Is Adding New 'Hacking Material' Label to Several Tweets: What We Know So Far

Representative image of Twitter logo. (Image: Reuters)

Representative image of Twitter logo. (Image: Reuters)

There is no certainty as to what constitutes as hacking material or what kind of content Twitter will flag going forward.

Micro-blogging site Twitter has started rolling out new labels that mark tweets with a “hacked material” warning that contains links to news stories that are based on hacking or leaked documents. The label was first spotted in a report by Mashable, which shows that Twitter added the “hacked material” label to a tweet posted by independent news website The Grayzone. The label reads, “These materials may have been obtained through hacking.”

The warning shows on both web and Twitter’s mobile apps for iOS and Android. The tweet from The Grayzone was originally posted on February 20, and users started noticing that an extra step was added when trying to retweet posts linking to The Grayzone’s story. Twitter has introduced a pop-up on the tweet that warns users about the “hacking” material while retweeting and includes a link that takes users to Twitter’s distribution of hacked materials’ policy. Twitter says this is to help keep the platform a place for reliable information.

The story from Grayzone sourced recently hacked and leaked documents that allegedly show Reuters and BBC participated in a program created by the government of UK to “weaken Russia’s state influence.” This appears to be the first time Twitter is using this particular warning label on an English language outlet, the Mashable report said.

According to a report from The Verge, users can also trick Twitter into putting a “Hacking Material” label into any link shared on the platform. The report said that if users tweet a specially crafted link which combines the flagged URL and a genuine URL and tweet it, the label will appear on the said tweet. We tried this trick and tried to incorporate The Grayzone’s story link with another genuine URL, but Twitter did not label our tweet.

Apart from The Grayzone story, the “hacking materials” label has also been seen on a story regarding Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was posted on January 16, and a tweet with a music video fo English singer Rick Astley, shared on February 24.

We have reached out to Twitter regarding the same, and will update this story as and when we receive a response. There is no certainty as to what constitutes as hacking material or what kind of content Twitter will flag going forward.