Shortly after the rule was announced Tuesday, a group of far-right activists and white supremacists began urging their followers to file reports against accounts that are used to identify neo-Nazis, monitor extremists and document the attendees of hate rallies.
In a statement Friday, Twitter spokesman Trenton Kennedy said that the company had been overwhelmed with a “significant amount” of malicious reports and that its “enforcement teams made several errors” in the aftermath.
Kennedy did not detail how many reports had been filed but said that “a dozen erroneous suspensions” had occurred. “We’ll have more to share on the review later,” he said.
The company has said that the rule was designed to prevent “the misuse of media to harass or intimidate private individuals,” and that it would make exceptions in cases where the photos or videos could add “value to public discourse.”
But some of the suspensions, including one reported by The Post that Twitter acknowledged Thursday night had been in error, related to public photos of newsworthy figures.
The policy’s vague wording had drawn criticism from researchers who said it could stifle the use of Twitter for amateur reporting and “open-source” investigation. Amateur sleuths have used the site to pursue members of hate groups and suspected rioters at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
The company said the new rule is an attempt to extend “right to privacy” protections, as some countries have, to accounts around the world. But the change, Kennedy added, does not apply to “public figures or individuals who are a part of public conversations and discourse online or offline.”
It was unclear whether all of the erroneous suspensions had been resolved. Some Twitter users whose accounts regularly track or identify far-right activists said their accounts remained locked.