Latest installment of “Twitter Files” show Trump was being censored long before his Jan. 6th ban

Released late Friday through journalist Matt Taibbi, the first installment of part three of the “Twitter Files” delves into the events preceding the infamous Jan. 8th, 2021 de-platforming of former President Donald Trump.

As previously reported, on the 8th the president was permanently suspended from Twitter because of “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

According to Taibbi, the ban was precipitated by “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.”

Indeed, Taibbi notes that while the “internal debate” over banning Trump took place between Jan. 6th and Jan. 8th, “the intellectual framework was laid in the months preceding the Capitol riots.”

“Before J6, Twitter was a unique mix of automated, rules-based enforcement, and more subjective moderation by senior executives. As reported, the firm had a vast array of tools for manipulating visibility, most all of which were thrown at Trump (and others) pre-J6,” he writes.

“As the election approached, senior executives – perhaps under pressure from federal agencies, with whom they met more as time progressed – increasingly struggled with rules, and began to speak of ‘vios’ as pretexts to do what they’d likely have done anyway,” he continues.

The veritable beginning of the end for Trump started on Oct. 8th, when Twitter executives opened a channel on the workplace chat app Slack called “us2020_xfn_enforcement.”

Taibbi explains that from then on and through the Jan. 6th riot, the channel “would be home for discussions about election-related removals, especially ones that involved ‘high-profile’ accounts (often called ‘VITs’ or ‘Very Important Tweeters’).”

Moreover, the introduction of the channel coincided with Twitter executives “liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content.”

For instance, in one discussion, then-Twitter policy director Nick Pickles was asked if, on the public relations front, Twitter should say it detects so-called “misinformation” through “partnerships with outside experts.”

Pickles responded by asking if they could just say “partnerships” without the “experts” part. Why? Because he was “not sure we’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts.”

In other words, Twitter’s “misinformation” decisions were being driven by the federal government, not actual so-called “experts.”

In fact, then-Twitter Global Head of Trust & Safety Yoel Roth repeatedly filed reports not only with FBI/DHS officials but also with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

In one report filed to the FBI/DHS/DNI prior to the election, Roth admitted to censoring the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden.

The FBI likewise filed reports with Roth about tweets that the agency wanted dealt with — such as a pair of tweets about mail-in-ballots:

Taibbi notes that censorship requests never came from the right.

“Examining the entire election enforcement Slack, we didn’t see one reference to moderation requests from the Trump campaign, the Trump White House, or Republicans generally. We looked. They may exist: we were told they do. However, they were absent here,” he writes.

They always came from the left, and they always seemed to target those on the right. Like, for example, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who on Oct. 24th, 2020 tweeted a joke about mailing in ballots for his “deceased parents and grandparents.”

And like, of course, former President Trump, whose tweets — particularly those related to mail-in-ballots — began being targeted for reduced reach and distribution as early as a week before the 2020 presidential election:

Conversely, Twitter did nothing about similar tweets from the left.

“[T]here are multiple instances of involving pro-Biden tweets warning Trump ‘may try to steal the election’ that got surfaced, only to be approved by senior executives,” according to Taibbi.

Case in point:

Taken all together, part one of the third installment of the “Twitter Files” shows that Twitter “was deploying a vast range of visible and invisible tools to rein in Trump’s engagement, long before J6,” all while ignoring similar alleged violations from the left.

Republished with permission from American Wire News Service


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