Trump White House and Biden Request Twitter to Remove Posts
- Matt Taibbi, journalist, said that it was “normal” for Twitter to grant content-removal requests by 2020.
- During the election cycle, these requests were received from both the White House (and the Biden Campaign).
- Elon Musk, the man who hyped up Taibbi’s reporting has spoken out against Biden team’s actions.
According to a thread by independent journalist Matt Taibbi, Twitter in 2020 granted requests to remove content from both President Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s campaigns.
The long Twitter thread, dubbed “The Twitter Files,”Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of the social media platform and self-described “free speech absolutist”, hyped it up. The thread was mainly about internal communications. Twitter’s controversial decision to suppress a New York Post reportInformation about Hunter Biden’s laptop, October 2020.
Taibbi also spoke of other content moderation activities. writingIt was “normal” for Twitter to be contacted by third-party actors asking to remove content by 2020.
“Both parties had access these tools. He stated that in 2020, both the Trump White House as well as the Biden Campaign made requests and were honored. saidHe added that “celebrities as well as unknowns could be removed or reviewed at a political party’s request.”
Taibbi shared an example of a request in one instance emailTwitter staff shared five tweets that Biden asked them to review. Another employee on Twitter replied that the tweets were “handled.”
Taibbi didn’t provide any details about the tweets. Many of the tweets archived in the Wayback MachineImages of Hunter Biden were included in the tweets, which would have violated Twitter’s terms of service.
—Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 2, 2022
Musk responded to the request with a screenshot writing: “If this aren’t a violation the Constitution’s First Amendment, then what is?”
In another tweetHe said that Twitter acting alone to suppress free expression is not a violation of the 1st Amendment, but acting under orders by the government to suppress freedom speech, without any judicial review, was.”
The Biden campaign was a private entity — not the government — at the time of the request. Trump’s White House, however. WasMusk, however, did not address reporting that claimed they had made and received requests from the government.
Taibbi did not provide evidence the White House — or the Biden campaign — “ordered” or coerced Twitter into removing content. David French wrote in that the government asking a private firm to do something and the company agreeing does not necessarily violate the First Amendment. The Atlantic.
Taibbi didn’t include any additional details, or an example of a request for the White House.
Taibbi wrote that Taibbi preferred Democrats and that the request-and-remove system was “not balanced”. citing campaign donations made by Twitter staff. He did not show evidence that the system favors Democrats or that tweets were deleted that did not violate the terms and conditions of service.
Twitter’s controversial decision not to initially block the Post’s story on Hunter BidenThe main focus of Taibbi’s thread, was primarily affecting Republicans: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnanyAfter sharing the story, she was temporarily blocked from her personal Twitter account. Twitter eventually restored her account within days. backtrackedOn its initial response to stop the story, and former CEO Jack DorseyAnd others from the companyWe have now reaffirmed our initial decision.
Insider reached out to Musk, Twitter, and Taibbi for comment but they did not immediately respond.
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