Leaked Pentagon documents visible on social media despite national security concerns

The Pentagon leak reveals the problems with social media content moderation policies.

 Game, Dice

After the Pentagon declared an ongoing investigation into the leak of more than 50 classified documents, many of them are still available on Twitter. This leak highlights the restricted power of a country to compel social media platforms to remove classified content that poses a risk to national security. This situation also reveals the discretionary implementation of these companies’ inclusion or exclusion of certain content on their platforms.

Twitter’s content moderation policy allows the platform to label tweets that share potentially doctored materials. The issue is that the classified material concerning US military information is not considered a violation of Twitter’s hacked materials policy because there is no ‘credible evidence establishing the likelihood of a technical hack or intrusion as the source of the materials’, according to a former Twitter employee.

Nevertheless, the problem might also be related to the fact that Elon Musk recently laid off many of Twitter’s employees responsible for content moderation. The leaked documents first appeared on Discord and then made their way to Twitter and Telegram. Discord does not appear to have a specific policy against posting classified information. Still, a spokesperson said the company is ‘cooperating with law enforcement’ in response to the ‘apparent breach of classified material’.