Elon Musk’s Twitter Files reveals former executives’ abuse of power, trust & safety

Elon Musk’s Twitter Files revealed quite a bit of detail about the former executives’ abuse of power while running the platform. In November, Elon Musk promised to release evidence of Twitter’s suppression of free speech and, on Friday, announced that he would unveil Twitter’s role in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop news.

Elon Musk announced earlier on Friday that there would be a live Q&A, and we’ll update here when it goes live.

In his thread, Taibbi said that the Twitter Files “tell an incredible story from inside one of the world’s largest and most influential social media platforms.” He began by highlighting Twitter’s early days as a potential tool for enabling mass communication, “making a true real-time global conversation possible for the first time.”

He then shared that some of Twitter’s first tools for controlling speech were designed to combat spammers and financial fraudsters, but slowly over time, Twitter’s staff and executives began to find more users for the tools. “Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well,” Taibbi tweeted, adding that it was just a little at first, then more often, and then constantly.

In the tweets above, Taibbi shared screenshots documenting that requests from “connected actors to delete tweets were routine.” Executives would write one another statements such as “Move to review from the Biden team.” and another one would reply, “handled.”

In addition to that, both celebrities and “unknowns” could be removed or reviewed “at the behest of a political party.”

Taibbi noted that both parties, such as the Trump White House and the Biden campaign, had requests received and honored, but the system wasn’t balanced. Instead, he said, it was based on contacts.

“Because Twitter was and is overwhelmingly staffed by people of one political orientation, there were more channels, more ways to complain, open to the left (well, Democrats) than the right.”

Taibbi shared a link with that statement from Open Secrets, which showed Twitter’s contributions to politicians. Following that, Taibbi shared more documents noting that the slant in content moderation decisions is visible and is the assessment of multiple current and high-level executives.

THE TWITTER FILES, PART ONE: HOW AND WHY TWITTER BLOCKED THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY

In Part Of the Twitter Files, Taibbi started with the October 14, 2020, New York Post article titled BIDEN SECRET E-MAILS. “Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be ‘unsafe.’ They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography,” Taibbi wrote.

Taibbi shared that Twitter locked White House spokeswoman Kaleigh McEnany out of her account for tweeting about the story, which prompted a letter from the Trump campaign staffer, Mike Hahn, who said, “At least pretend to care for the next 20 days.”

In response to that, Caroline Strom, Twitter’s public policy executive, sent out a “polite WTF query.” Taibbi noted that several employees picked up on the tension between the comms and policy teams and the safety and trust teams. The former had either little or less control over moderation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *