UPDATED 7:58 PM PT – Friday, December 2, 2022
Twitter is coming under hot water after their efforts to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story was exposed.
In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, independent journalist Matt Taibbi released what he called “the Twitter files.” Taibbi said that a cabal of Twitter executives suppressed the story based on the unverified assumption that Hunter Biden’s laptop was hacked. They would do this by putting warning labels on the post and blocking it from being sent by direct message, actions used to suppress the spreading of child pornography.
The team would also censor accounts that re-tweeted the story, including the account of President Trump’s Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany
The former head of Legal Policy and Trust, Vijaya Gadde, allegedly played a major role in the efforts. The group moved behind the back of Twitter’s founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. Taibbi also noted that many in the cabal were wary of operating under the ‘hacked laptop’ theory but went along with it anyway.
The same day the story broke, Twitter began its censorship campaign which caused chatter on Capitol Hill to began.
Democrat Ro Kahanna (D-Calif.) emailed Gadde warning that censoring the story could be a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
“If there is a hack of classified information or other information that could expose a serious war crime and the New York Times was to publish it, I think the New York Times should have that right,” Kahanna said. “A journalist should not be held accountable for the illegal actions of the source unless they actively aided the hack. So, to restrict the distribution of that material, especially regarding a presidential candidate, seems not in the keeping of the principles of New York Times v. Sullivan. I say this as a total Biden partisan and convinced he didn’t do anything wrong. But the story now was become more about censorship than relatively innocuous emails and it’s become a bigger deal than it would have been.”
However, other Democrats didn’t seem to hold Kahanna’s sentiment.
Carl Szabo, the vice president and general counsel for research group NetChoice polled a group of nine Republican and three Democrat congressman. He found that Democrats were overwhelmingly pushing for more content moderation.
Szabo also said the notion on Capitol Hill was the suppression story and referred to it as tech’s Access Hollywood moment.
In the meantime, Taibbi says the hacked laptop theory requires a law enforcement agency to confirm and that verification couldn’t happen in the 24-hours of the scandal. He stressed that both parties used Twitter’s censorship tools. However, Democrats were immensely more willing to call for actions against content they didn’t like. Taibbi said more details are to come regarding the Twitter files, including shadow-banning, boosting, follower accounts and more.
Additionally, Elon Musk said he’ll hold Q and A on Saturday regarding the data dump.