The Twitter Files are still going full steam as Elon Musk continues to expose the inner workings of the company’s censorship practices. On Dec. 11 and 12, journalists Michael Shellenberger and Bari Weiss released parts four and five of the ongoing series, focusing on the decision to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform. For those who criticized Twitter for its political bias, the new reports did not disappoint.
The latest revelations in the Twitter Files show the company’s leadership faced calls from every corner to ban the former president. But according to the sources, it did not need much convincing.
Twitter Files Expose Pressure Campaign
In the lead-up to Trump’s banning, several outside individuals and entities clamored for Twitter to take action. After the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, leftists declared war on the former president for supposedly inciting the violence. Shellenberger reported that the company was subjected to “internal and external pressure.”
One of the individuals involved was none other than former First Lady Michelle Obama, who released a statement on Twitter the day after the riot, telling all Big Tech companies to take action. “Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior — and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms and putting in place policies to prevent their technologies from being used by the nation’s leaders to fuel insurrection,” she wrote.
Obama added: “And if we have any hope of improving this nation, now is the time for swift and serious consequences for the failure of leadership that led to yesterday’s shame.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), chimed in, posting a tweet that argued it was “overdue” to suspend Trump “until his account stops promoting disinformation and inciting violence.”
In a written statement, the ADL called for those involved in the violence to be held accountable and insisted that “social media companies should suspend his accounts ASAP as they would do for anyone else advocating disinformation and promoting violence.”
While several Twitter employees cautioned leadership against shuttering Trump, they were outnumbered by those who wished to remove him. Despite the fact that the team responsible for such decisions found that Trump’s tweets did not violate policy, Weiss noted that many “were upset that Trump hadn’t been banned earlier.”
In fact, some workers compared the former president to “the leader of a terrorist group responsible for violence/deaths comparable to Christchurch shooter or Hitler.”
Vijaya Gadde, the company’s former head of Legal, Policy, and Trust, appearing to seek a reason to remove Trump, asked if his tweets could be seen as “coded incitement to further violence.” Apparently the answer she got was yes.
As with the other chapters of the Twitter Files, Musk’s team covered events that were already reported on when they happened. The removal of Trump was not a revelation – but the details surrounding the decision certainly were. Now we know about the company’s internal turmoil involved in the choice its leadership made. But it seems apparent that Twitter’s decision was due more to political bias than concerns about violence.
Weiss’ thread pointed to several other instances in which foreign heads of state called for aggressive action against enemies. Indeed, these were blatant encouragements of assault and murder of individuals, but Twitter did not ban them. Even when India’s prime minister threatened to arrest the company’s employees, that did not warrant suspension.
The information that has already surfaced is quite damning, and Musk has indicated this is not the last of the Twitter Files. Still to come: a more penetrating look at how deep Big Tech censorship goes.
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