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Monday, May 27, 2024

Tools were used by Twitter in 2020 to curb “Trump’s engagement”

According to journalist Matt Taibbi, "as soon as they finished barring Trump, Twitter executives started processing new power, ready to ban future presidents."

Twitter’s new CEO Elon Musk has promoted a series of tweets that revealed the company’s internal files that the big tech’s “activist employees, without basis, suppressed and censored” former US President Donald Trump in the days before the 2020 election.

In a lengthy thread on Friday, independent journalist Matt Taibbi said: “The significance is that it shows that Twitter, in 2020 at least, was deploying a vast range of visible and invisible tools to rein in Trump’s engagement, long before Jan. 6. The ban will come after other avenues are exhausted.”


Taibbi said senior executives, who might be under pressure from federal agencies, with whom they met more as time progressed, increasingly struggled with rules, and began to speak of “violations” as pretexts to do what they would likely have done anyway.

Read More: Musk says Twitter clash with Apple a ‘misunderstanding’

By Jan. 8, Twitter will be receiving plaudits in Washington, and the sitting US president will no longer be heard on the platform, he added.

“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’,” he added.

“Before the riots, the company was engaged in an inherently insane/impossible project, trying to create an ever-expanding, ostensibly rational set of rules to regulate every conceivable speech situation that might arise between humans,” he said.

This project was preposterous yet its leaders were unable to see this, having become infected with groupthink, coming to believe – sincerely – that it was Twitter’s responsibility to control, as much as possible, what people could talk about, how often, and with whom.

The first set of documents detailed Twitter’s decision to restrict an October 2020 New York Post story on the Hunter Biden laptop controversy.

Musk, who completed his takeover of Twitter in October, retweeted Taibbi’s post, saying: “The Twitter Files, Part 3 Deplatforming the President.”

This past week, journalists Bari Weiss and Matt Taibbi shared details of some of the documents and their own analysis in two long Twitter threads.

Their main accusation is that Twitter has long silenced conservative or contrarian voices, and they reference internal emails, Slack messages, and content moderation systems.

Since taking over Twitter in October, the 51-year-old Tesla billionaire Musk has sacked roughly half of the company’s 8,000 workers, reinstated previously banned accounts on the platform, including that of Trump, and also announced an “amnesty” for suspended accounts, prompting concerns about rise is disinformation and hate speech.

Anadolu Agency story with additional input from Global Village Space News Desk.