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Elon Musk Exposes Twitter’s Efforts To Suppress Hunter Biden Story In New Twitter Thread

Joey Sendz

Joey Sendz

Elon Musk Twitter Files Hunter Biden

Two years after the incident, Twitter’s new billionaire owner Elon Musk encouraged the disclosure of records revealing internal discussions about banning the New York Post’s account because to its coverage of Hunter Biden.

The fresh revelations, dubbed “The Twitter Files,” were published by investigative journalist and author Matt Taibbi in a lengthy Twitter thread (and retweeted by Musk). According to Taibbi, it is based on “thousands of internal documents obtained by sources at Twitter,” which were, it would seem, shared with Musk, the conservative tech tycoon and top earner in the world.

The New York Post’s account was blocked by Twitter in October 2020, just a few weeks before the U.S. presidential election, for 16 days after the publication of articles suggesting that Joe Biden and his son Hunter had participated in shady business practices in China and Ukraine. Given that the information used in the Post’s Biden exposés came from information provided by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, who claimed to have obtained it from a MacBook Pro belonging to Hunter Biden, Twitter initially claimed the Post had violated its “hacked materials” policy and had blocked the posting of URLs to the articles.

Twitter went over and above to stifle the news, blocking links and issuing cautions that it may be “unsafe,” according to Taibbi. They also prevented it from being sent by direct messaging, a method that had previously only been used in severe circumstances, such child pornography.

According to Taibbi, former head of legal, policy, and trust Vijaya Gadde had a crucial part in the decision to suppress the Post’s initial Biden report, which was “decided at the highest echelons of the firm, but without the awareness of CEO Jack Dorsey.”

Hunter Biden with his father President Joe Biden
Hunter Biden with his father President Joe Biden

According to Taibbi, there was discussion on what to do since Twitter executives were aware that a backlash would result from their decision to ban the Hunter Biden piece from the Post. I’m finding it difficult to grasp the policy justification for labeling this as hazardous, Trenton Kennedy, Twitter’s U.S. policy communications manager, had said in an internal email. In response, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity Yoel Roth said that the policy is based on stolen information — albeit, as noted, this is a developing issue where the facts remain uncertain. Yoel Roth just left his position in the aftermath of Musk’s purchase of Twitter. It was “reasonable for us to assume,” according to Twitter’s deputy general counsel Jim Baker, that the documents that served as the foundation for the Post’s article were compromised. Baker also added that “caution is advised.”

According to Taibbi, who cited unnamed sources, Twitter’s “hacked materials” policy typically needed a determination by an official or law enforcement agency that a hack had been carried out; but, in the instance of the Post’s Biden story, nothing to that effect was apparent.

Twitter then changed its mind, stating that it has amended its hacked-materials policy and would not apply it to the New York Post in the past. Since then, it has been claimed by several news organizations, including the New York Times, that the laptop indeed belonged to Hunter Biden and the contents on it were real. Unsurprisingly, Republican leaders used Twitter’s decision to restrict The Washington Post as justification for charging the social media platform with stifling conservative views.

Two days after Twitter barred The Washington Post’s Hunter Biden story, Dorsey apologized on behalf of the business. At the time, Dorsey stated in a tweet that “straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix.” Our intention is to try to give context, and we now have the tools to accomplish so.

A remarkable aspect of the Twitter/Hunter Biden laptop scandal, according to Taibbi’s thread, was how much was done without CEO Jack Dorsey’s awareness and how long it took for things to get back on track even when Dorsey intervened. There are several examples of Dorsey interceding to challenge bans and other moderation measures for accounts across the political spectrum, the author said.

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Immediately after agreeing to purchase Twitter for $44 billion in April 2022, Musk attacked Twitter’s choice to restrict the New York Post because to the Biden story. Musk wrote that it was plainly improper to suspend a major news organization’s Twitter account for posting an accurate report. The next day, he published a meme ridiculing the social network’s purported “left-wing bias” that featured images of Gadde.

The day after closing the Twitter transaction, Musk dismissed Gadde along with Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal, CFO Ned Segal, and general counsel Sean Edgett.

Musk, a self-described “free-speech absolutist,” has complained that Twitter has historically censored conservatives and that, under his ownership, Twitter will adhere to strict “free speech” principles. Critics have feared that this stance will increase the amount of false information and hate speech on the platform.

Musk made the decision this month to reactivate Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which had been suspended in 2021 due to his endorsement of the rioters who invaded the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Additionally, Musk declared that Twitter is granting “amnesty” to suspended accounts and reinstating them (“provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam”). This includes neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin, the creator of the white supremacist website the Daily Stormer, whom Twitter banned in 2013 for his activities. Kanye West was prohibited by Musk on Thursday after the musician tweeted a picture of a Nazi insignia encased in a star of David.

Elon Musk recently bought Twitter, causing controversy
Elon Musk recently bought Twitter, causing controversy

Both Democrats and Republicans have access to Twitter’s mechanisms for requesting the examination and removal of certain messages, according to Taibbi. He said that in 2020, Twitter accepted and complied with demands from both the Trump administration and the Biden campaign. “By 2020, requests to remove tweets from connected actors were routine. “More to review from the Biden team,” one executive would jot down in a letter to another. ‘Handled’ would be the response, according to Taibbi.

“Twitter acting by itself to suppress free speech is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting on orders from the government to suppress free speech, with no judicial review, is,” Musk tweeted in response to the response to the “Twitter Files.”

According to Taibbi, who is left-leaning, Democrats had “more channels” and “more ways to complain” about tweets than conservatives since Twitter “was and is overwhelmingly staffed by people of one political orientation.” According to his writing, this led to a “slant in content moderation decisions,” which was supported by Twitter records and “multiple current and former high-level executives.”

Friday’s “Twitter Files” thread, according to Taibbi, was the first of a series. For him, working on the project has been “a whirlwind 96 hours,” and he assured that there will be “much more to come, including answers to inquiries concerning things like shadow-banning, boosting, follower numbers, the destiny of different individual accounts, and more.” These problems affect all political parties, not just the right.


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