THE TRUMP FILES: Musk Exposes Twitter’s Decision to Ban Former President from Twitter

December 9th, 2022 7:13 PM

Twitter owner Elon Musk released through journalist Matt Taibbi yet another batch of documents revealing the sordid decision process by former executives to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform.

Taibbi, who reported on the new batch Dec. 9, said the documents reveal an “erosion of standards within the company in months before [the Capitol Hill riot], decisions by high-ranking executives to violate their own policies, and more, against the backdrop of ongoing, documented interaction with federal agencies.” The most damning was revealed when Taibbi noted that the “intellectual framework” behind banning and censoring Trump “was laid in the months preceding the Capitol riots.” 

According to Taibbi, "Trump was being 'visibility filtered' as late as a week before the election." Another batch of documents released earlier today showed that "visibility filtering" was Twitter's evasive term for shadowbanning. "Here, senior execs didn’t appear to have a particular violation, but still worked fast to make sure a fairly anodyne Trump tweet couldn’t be 'replied to, shared, or liked,'" Taibbi said. 

Taibbi also reported that when "[e]xamining 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."

Also notable, Taibbi reported jaw-dropping information that “executives were also clearly liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content.”

“Policy Director Nick Pickles is asked if they should say Twitter detects ‘misinfo’ through ‘ML, human review, and **partnerships with outside experts,’” said Taibbi. “Pickles quickly asks if they could ‘just say ‘partnerships.’ After a pause, he says, ‘e.g. not sure we’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts.’” A snapshot about the “Hunter Biden laptop” scandal posted by Taibbi revealed that leftist former Twitter head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth — who once spewed that Trump’s administration was full of “nazis” — “not only met weekly with the FBI and DHS, but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).” Taibbi summarized:

Roth’s report to FBI/DHS/DNI is almost farcical in its self-flagellating tone: ‘We blocked the NYP story, then unblocked it (but said the opposite)… comms is angry, reporters think we’re idiots… in short, FML’ (fuck my life).

In other words, it appears former Twitter leadership was actively coordinating with government agencies over the censorship one of the biggest stories of the 2020 election that research shows could have thrown the election to Trump.

A 2020 MRC poll found that 45 percent of President Joe Biden’s voters weren’t fully aware of the New York Post story precisely because the media and Big Tech whitewashed it. Had Americans been fully aware of the scandal, 9.4 percent of Biden voters would have abandoned him, flipping all six of the swing states he won to former President Donald Trump, giving Trump a victorious 311 electoral votes.

With regards to Trump’s ban, Taibbi summarized one snapshot which showed that “Twitter executives removed Trump in part over what one executive called the ‘context surrounding’: actions by Trump and supporters ‘over the course of the election and frankly last 4+ years.’ In then end, they looked at a ‘broad picture’” rather than just the events of Jan. 6, 2021 in isolation. In other words, it could be argued that it was the MAGA movement in general that set up the precursor for Trump’s ban since 2016.

The snapshot showed one executive communicating with former Twitter legal executive Vijaya Gadde promoting new research on how “DJT’s language” was “coded incitement to further violence.” The executive continued in part:

[C]ontext matters and the narrative that [T]rump and his friends have pursued over the course of this election and frankly last 4+ years must be taken into account when interpreting and analyzing that tweet.

Taibbi noted that “[a]s soon as they finished banning Trump, Twitter execs started processing new power.” He continued: “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.’” A snapshot suggested that Twitter intended to “limit” the “use” of the government accounts @POTUS and @WhiteHouse if Trump attempted to evade the ban.  

The documents revealed a “more powerful cadre of senior policy execs” that included Gadde and Roth. The cadre was reportedly making censorship decisions on the fly based on guesswork, even concerning Trump. Taibbi called the cadre “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.”

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