By Luca Cacciatore. Media: Newsmax.
Twitter, under the leadership of its new owner, maverick billionaire Elon Musk, is continuing its deep dive into the flawed and sometimes biased decision-making at the social media topic with a three-day examination of one of its biggest and most controversial actions: the post-1/6 banning of Donald Trump.
On Friday, journalist Matt Taibbi — whose Twitter feed carried the full first releases on behind-the-scenes actions at the company — began unspooling the story behind the Trump ban, a decision he said “even Twitter’s employees understood in the moment … was a landmark moment in the annals of speech.”
The story is so large and high-profile, Taibbi said it would be released in three installments:
“This first installment covers the period before the election through January 6th. Tomorrow, @ShellenbergerMD will detail the chaos inside Twitter on January 7th. On Sunday, @bariweiss will reveal the secret internal communications from the key date of January 8th.”
He also had this to say: “We’ll show you what hasn’t been revealed: the erosion of standards within the company in months before J6, decisions by high-ranking executives to violate their own policies, and more, against the backdrop of ongoing, documented interaction with federal agencies.”
In the latest iteration of Musk’s Twitter files, Taibbi shared internal memos revealing why the platform really booted off Trump.
Taibbi started by posting a message from an unnamed Twitter executive to then-Legal, Policy, and Trust head Vijaya Gadde, where the employee appears to be searching for justification to kick Trump off from the social media site.
“I’m working with [REDACTED] on my team to put together a doc to share with a POV [point of view] from research … on DJT’s [Donald J. Trump] language as coded incitement to further violence,” the executive wrote.
Among other reasons, the employee focused on “context surrounding” the “narrative that trump and his friends have pursued of the course of this election and frankly last 4+ years” with his post-2020 election rhetoric being the “last straw.” Also hinted at was Twitter’s supposed “moral imperative” in resolving the matter.
Trump was banned from Twitter amid critics’ concerns and allegations that his rhetoric about a stolen presidential election and wholesale voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election had incited supporters to storm the Capitol. On Jan. 6, hundreds breached the landmark, intent on disrupting congressional certification of Joe Biden’s win. Just prior to the breach, Trump led a nearby rally, urging attendeeds to march on the Capitol in protest.
Trump, who relied heavily on Twitter during his administration to voice opinions, announce policies and assail critics, has since formed his own social media company, Truth Social. Though Musk has said Trump’s feed is no longer off limits, Trump has indicated he is not planning to resume his Twitter postings.
More files show another unnamed executive asking Nick Pickles, the senior director of Twitter’s global public policy, if he was “comfortable” with marketing the disinformation process as occurring via “ML, human review, and **partnerships with outside experts?*”
Pickles supposedly replied: “Can we just say “partnerships?” adding that he was unsure if “we’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts, or some NGOs that aren’t academic.”
Then-Trust & Safety head Yoel Roth appears to have been one of the executives communicating with these government agencies, according to Taibbi’s report.
In a leaked screenshot of the company’s Slack message board, Roth can be seen asking an employee named Patrick Conlon for “a quick readout” of the “FBI and DHS meetings” he would be missing over an Aspen Institute presentation.
Evidence also suggests that Twitter allowed the FBI to send the platform flagged tweets in a similar way it allowed the Biden campaign and Democratic Party, too. In one, the FBI took issue with a former Tippecanoe County, Indiana, councilman’s claims.
“Between 2% and 25% Of Ballots By Mail Being REJECTED For Errors,” read the original tweet by John Basham, a Republican. Twitter would later respond by adding a mail-in voting disclaimer on the original tweet.