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On December 2, journalist and writer Matt Taibbi chose the phrase “Twitter Files” to baptize the revelations about what happened with Hunter Biden’s computer story in 2020. In an extensive thread, which has already accumulated millions of “likes”, he published how what happened was censored, directly interfering in the presidential election that pitted Donald Trump and Joe Biden against each other.
From the outset, Taibbi made it clear that everything published is based on “thousands of internal documents obtained by sources at Twitter“. As he explained, the social network of the little bird began by fulfilling its objective, that of giving people “the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers”. However, little by little, the airs of restrictions began to arrive in San Francisco.
“Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well: first a little, then more often, then constantly,” the journalist indicated in the thread.
This became commonplace during the 2020 presidential election, with both parties soliciting favors of the sort. The company was receiving messages from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign. But, at the end of the day, the system became unbalanced in favor of the Democrat.
For example, Taibbi showed how one executive wrote to another, “More to review from the Biden team” and the response was “handled.” It turns out that the closeness with the social network was based on “contacts” and the Twitter staff was composed of a Democratic majority, which made the matter easier for the party’s interests.
The Twitter Files, Part One: How and Why Twitter Blocked the Hunter Biden Laptop Story
It’s time to break down the meat of this thread, composed of 36 explosive tweets. In October 2020, the story of Hunter Biden‘s laptop came to light, which did not leave the Biden family in a good light and was subsequently censored by the social network of the little bird.
“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 published.
At the time, internal company communications revealed that the material had been “hacked” and that was the main reason for the censorship.
Jack Dorsey was unaware of the censorship of Hunter Biden’s story.
However, even employees realized that something wasn’t adding up. “The hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, almost everyone realized that this was not going to hold up. But no one had the guts to back down,” one of them confessed.
This was confirmed by internal communications. In addition, Trenton Kennedy, a company communications officer, wrote at the time that “I struggle to understand the political basis for marking this [the article] as unsafe.”
Even Brandon Borrman, former vice president of Global Communications, questioned the company’s actions: “Can we honestly say that this is part of the policy?”
In turn, perhaps to the surprise of many, “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.”
The repercussions were not only external. Democrats and, especially, Republicans were upset with the restrictions. Ro Khanna was the only Democratic elected official to communicate specifically to show his concern. The lawmaker communicated directly with Gadde and stated that, in his opinion, the measure potentially violated the First Amendment.
Democrats: “The First Amendment is not absolute”.
Another of the most shocking revelations came from a letter from Carl Szabo of the research firm NetChoice. He reported to Twitter that a person from his firm had met with a group of congressmen, 9 Republicans and 3 Democrats, to discuss the issue.
Republicans expressed their indignation with the matter and even claimed that it was a “tipping point”. For their part, Democrats called for more moderation of content on social networks, going so far as to slip in that “the First Amendment is not absolute.”
A second part of the Twitter Files is coming
Near the end of the thread, Taibbi openly remarked that “there is no evidence – that I have seen – of any government involvement in the laptop story.” Moreover, he confessed to being surprised about how much was done without Jack Dorsey’s knowledge.
Finally, Elon Musk himself announced that a second part of what seems to be the new trendy series worldwide, the “Twitter Files”, is coming.
Joaquín Núñez es licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política nacional norteamericana. Confeso hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda. Contacto: firstname.lastname@example.org // Joaquín Núñez has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and national American politics. Confessed fan of Racing Club of Avellaneda. Contact: email@example.com