On Friday, the latest issue of Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” revealed more information behind the company’s decision to remove former President Donald Trump from the platform.
Journalist Matt Taibbi posted a lengthy thread that he would be releasing previously unknown documents and details regarding the social media platform’s internal operations and would be elaborating on the company’s decision to remove Trump from Twitter after the Jan. 6 protests.
READ THE FULL THREAD HERE:
Taibbi alleged that the ban gave Twitter unfettered power over the executive office, saying, “As soon as they finished banning Trump, Twitter execs started processing new power. They prepared to ban future presidents and White Houses – perhaps even Joe Biden. The “new administration,” says one exec, “will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary.”
The journalist claimed this while posting a screenshot from a Twitter employee indicating that they were willing to suspend or limit government Twitter accounts if they were used for “evading a ban.”
One employee alleged that the decision to remove Trump was based on “the overall context and narrative” of the original tweets and was decided on an “intellectual framework” that Twitter had developed.
Taibbi also said that certain content moderation decisions were made by key Twitter executives, including former Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth, Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust Vijaya Gadde and former legal counsel Jim Baker.
Their approach was one of a “high-speed Supreme Court of moderation, issuing content rulings on the fly, often in minutes and based on guesses, gut calls, even Google searches, even in cases involving the President,” Taibbi said, backing it with evidence of a screenshot from Roth.
Roth also met with officials from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and Director of National Intelligence, discussing election security on a weekly basis. Taibbi also posted details about a Slack channel where Twitter employees would debate whether to moderate certain tweets in relation to election misinformation.
One target who was up for debate was former Arizona Gov. Mike Huckabee who joked about mailing in ballots for his “deceased parents and grandparents.”
“I agree it’s a joke,” a Twitter employee said, “but he’s also literally admitting in a tweet a crime.” They labeled Huckabee’s tweet as an “edge case” but let it slide in the end.
Taibbi explained another case, which revealed that one Trump tweet in which he alleged that there were 50,000 mistaken mail-in ballots sent out, was going to be labeled with a “mail-in voting is safe” claim, before they realized “the events took place” making the tweet “factually accurate”
Meanwhile, Taibbi explained, pro-Biden tweets claiming Trump would try to steal the election were approved by senior executives. One in particular they claimed “expresses concern that mailed ballots might not make it on time.”
“‘THAT’S UNDERSTANDABLE’: Even the hashtag #StealOurVotes – referencing a theory that a combo of Amy Coney Barrett and Trump will steal the election – is approved by Twitter brass, because it’s ‘understandable’ and a ‘reference to… a US Supreme Court decision,’” he said.
Taibbi went on to explain that the company had been suppressing Trump’s tweets for months prior to January 6 and that the ban only came “after other avenues are exhausted.”
Taibbi concluded by discussing the opening hours of January 6, as Yoel Roth silently “bounced” several Trump tweets placing them in a short time-out period and threatening to ban several accounts on the first day of the internal crisis. He then teased the next release of the Twitter files, taking place on Saturday, Dec. 10, and Sunday, Dec. 11, which will be posted by journalist Michael Shellenberger and Bari Weiss, respectively.
This is the latest in a series of threads posted by him and reporter Bari Weiss, surrounding the inner machinations of Twitter in the years before Musk purchased the platform. Weiss posted details about the company’s blacklisting policy on Thursday, while Taibbi posted a thread last week about the suppression of the New York Post’s infamous story about Hunter Biden’s Laptop.
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