Praising Indian-origin Democrat Ro Khanna, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has released internal ‘Twitter Files’ that revealed how the micro-blogging platform took orders from the US President Joe Biden’s team to suppress the censorship of his son Hunter Biden’s laptop story, published by the New York Times during the 2020 US presidential elections.
Musk tweeted a link to the account of independent journalist and author Matt Taibbi, who posted a series of tweets revealing the Twitter Files.
“On October 14, 2020, the New York Post published ‘BIDEN SECRET EMAILS’, an expose based on the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop,” Taibbi posted late on Friday.
He claimed that 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 posted.
“This led public policy executive Caroline Strom to send out a polite WTF query. Several employees noted that there was tension between the comms/policy teams, who had little/less control over moderation, and the safety/trust teams,” he said.
Strom’s note returned the answer that the laptop story had been removed for violation of the company’s “hacked materials” policy.
According to Taibbi, the decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but “without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former Head of Legal, Policy and Trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role”.
“They just freelanced it,” is how one former employee characterised the decision.
“Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realised that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it,” Taibbi revealed.
Taibbi noted on his Substack account that he had to “agree to certain conditions” in order to publish the tweets.
Hunter Biden is the second son of Joe Biden from his first wife Nellia Hunter Biden.
In October 2020, Twitter had also banned (later reinstated) the account of The New York Post after it published the controversial story about Hunter Biden and tweeted it six times with the link to the story.
According to Taibbi, Indian-origin “Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna reached out to Gadde to gently suggest she hop on the phone to talk about the “backlash re speech”. Khanna “was the only Democratic official I could find in the files who expressed concern”.
“Gadde replies quickly, immediately diving into the weeds of Twitter policy, unaware Khanna is more worried about the Bill of Rights,” he tweeted.
Musk replied: “Ro Khanna is great.”
“Tune in for Episode 2 of The Twitter Files tomorrow,” he posted.