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Twitter files show top leader pushed for policy change to oust Trump

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Elon Musk on Saturday went on to expose the behind-the-scenes Twitter turmoil that led to former President Donald Trump’s ouster from the platform days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

In the latest episode of the so-called “Twitter Files,” freelance journalist Michael Shellenberger shared more internal communications between high-level Twitter executives and employees who were twisting internal policy in a bid to permanently block Mr. Trump then that public pressure to ban the president was growing. following the Capitol Riot.

“On January 7, senior Twitter executives: – create justifications for banning Trump – seek policy change for Trump alone, separate from other political leaders – express no concern about the implications of a ban on the freedom of “expression or democracy. This #TwitterFiles is reported with @lwoodhouse,” Mr. Shellenberger wrote in a lengthy Twitter thread.

At the center of the most recent revelations is former Twitter trust and safety chief Yoel Roth, who called for tougher sanctions for Mr Trump after the president was temporarily suspended on January 6, 2021.

Mr. Shellenberger points in his thread to Mr. Roth’s longstanding political opposition to Mr. Trump and suggests that Mr. Roth’s personal ideology played a significant role in the decision to permanently ban the president.

“In 2017 Roth tweeted that there were ‘REAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE,'” Mr Shellenberger wrote. “In April 2022, Roth told a colleague that his goal ‘is to lead change in the world,’ which is why he has decided not to become an academic.”

Mr. Roth pushed for Mr. Trump’s permanent ban despite demands from Twitter founder Jack Dorsey that the platform “stay consistent” with its policies “including users’ right to return to Twitter after a temporary suspension,” according to Mr. Shellenberger.

Twitter had also resisted previous calls to ban Mr. Trump, ruling in 2018 that “blocking a world leader from Twitter would hide important information…[and] hinder the necessary discussion around their words and actions.

Mr Dorsey eventually bowed to pressure and authorized a ‘recidivist’ rule for ‘civic integrity’.

“The new approach would create a system where five violations (‘strikes’) would result in a permanent suspension,” Shellenberger wrote.

At the time the new policy was issued on Jan. 7, 2021, Mr. Trump still had one strike before he was permanently banned.

The following day, the platform announced Mr Trump’s ouster, citing a “risk of further incitement to violence”.

Mr. Shellenberger said he found only one example of an employee worrying about the decision to ban Mr. Trump.

“It may be an unpopular view, but one-off ad hoc decisions like this that don’t seem rooted in politics are IMHO a slippery slope…” a junior employee wrote in a room. internal chat “site integrity”. “It now seems like a fiat from an online platform CEO with a global presence who can keep the talk going for the world…”

Mr Shellenberger’s installment follows Friday’s thread from fellow freelance journalist Matt Taibbi revealing details on Friday of the FBI’s work with Twitter employees to moderate content in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

Mr. Taibbi also revealed what he called an “erosion of norms within the company” in the months leading up to the Capitol riot, detailing Twitter employees’ internal debate over censorship of related content. in the elections published by Mr. Trump.

The reports from Mr. Taibbi and Mr. Shellenberger set the stage for a final report on Sunday regarding Mr. Trump’s removal from Twitter.



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