Elon Musk released “The Twitter Files” on Friday night exposing how Twitter censored the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Elon Musk directed Twitter users to journalist Matt Taibbi on Friday night after providing Taibbi with internal documents dubbed “The Twitter Files” exposing how Twitter censored the Hunter Biden laptop story.
- In a series of tweets on Friday night Taibbi, a longtime reporter for Rolling Stone who is now an independent journalist on Substack, shed light on Twitter’s decision to censor the New York Post’s October 2020 expose of the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop.
- Weeks before the 2020 election, Twitter locked the account of the New York Post for 16 days after the newspaper published a bombshell report alleging then-candidate Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, his son, were “engaged in corrupt business dealings in Ukraine and China.” Twitter claimed the Post’s use of Hunter Biden’s laptop as its source violated its “hacked materials” policy.
- Twitter was riven with “dissent and confusion” after the Trust and Safety Team took “extraordinary steps” to censor the Post’s expose under the pretext of the reporting baring “all the hallmarks of a Russian information operation” despite the Director of National Intelligence’s statement that there was no evidence the stories were from a Russian disinformation campaign.
- Twitter’s staff was far from unified on the decision. One employee warned, “We’ll face hard questions on this if we don’t have some kind of solid reasoning.”
- In particular, the decision to lock the account of then-White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany “led public policy executive Caroline Strom to send out a polite WTF query. Several employees noted there was tension between the comms/policy teams, who had little/less control over moderation, and the safety/trust teams,” Taibbi wrote.
- Taibbi also revealed Twitter employees reviewed posts flagged by members of the Biden campaign and administration and the Democratic National Committee.
- Musk also disclosed he believed it was “possible” Twitter gave preference to left-wing candidates during Brazil’s elections last month. He did not release any evidence supporting this claim.
- Twitter is now transitioning to automation to moderate user content, moving away from the manual reviews that hallmarked the previous regime. Additionally, Musk’s Twitter now prefers to limit a tweet’s distribution rather than removing it outright and will more aggressively restrict search results for subject areas such as child exploitation.
- At the end of Friday evening, Musk promised to release “Episode 2 of The Twitter Files” Saturday night.
- Axios highlighted one key revelation from the Twitter Files: Republicans weren’t the only people outraged by the decision. Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna reached out to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s ex-head of Trust and Safety (read: censorship), warning her decision was generating a “huge backlash” on Capitol Hill over freedom of speech.
- NBC News described the Twitter Files as a “rehashing,” as “many of the details… had already been public.” Musk’s actions represented “a sharp criticism of Twitter’s previous management” who the billionaire alleges ran the company in a way that “was biased toward Democrats.”
- Rolling Stone, Taibbi’s former employer, dismissed the Twitter Files as a “snoozefest.” The “anticlimactic” information dump was no bombshell, Adam Rawnsley argues, rather a rehashing of what is already public knowledge.
- Miranda Devine argued in the New York Post that Musk only “half-delivered on his promise to tell all” about Twitter’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story. What’s missing? “Details of specific warnings we know the FBI made to Twitter about a Russian “hack and leak operation” involving Hunter during their weekly meetings with top executives of the social media giant.”
- Elon Musk blasted the New York Times as a “lobbying firm for far-left politicians” after the Grey Lady reportedly ignored the “Twitter Files,” Fox News reported. The Times did not publish any articles on the document release on Saturday morning, while ABC, CBS, and NBC all ignored it in their Friday evening coverage.
- As The Federalist pointed out, “Taibbi maintains that Twitter employees were not basing their censorship orders for the laptop story on demands from the government. He did, however, add that several Twitter sources recalled hearing the FBI’s demands that the social media giants censor ‘Russian disinformation.’”
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© Dominic Moore, 2022