Internal Files Point to Twitter Meddling in 2020 Elections

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The latest episode of the Elon Musk-endorsed “Twitter Files,” internal communications about the social media giant’s “free speech suppression” on the platform, reveals a soft-on-Biden tough-on-Trump bias in content enforcement, raising questions about how heavily the social media platform put its finger on the scales in the 2020 election.

The latest set of internal Twitter communications, titled “The Removal of Donald Trump,” dives into the actions of Twitter executives during the period from October 2020 to Jan. 8, 2021, when Trump was banned from the platform.

Internal Slack chats at Twitter, shared and commented on by investigative journalist Matt Taibbi in a lengthy thread published on Dec. 9, show that engagement between Twitter executives and federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies soared during this period.

The chats are also chock full of obscure terms and censorious jargon (which Taibbi dubbed “Orwellian unwords”) used by Twitter’s enforcers as they worked to tag, shadow ban, and otherwise suppress content that was sympathetic to then-President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign while giving content aligned with then-candidate Joe Biden’s election efforts a free pass.

The Twitter enforcement team also cracked down on some prominent conservatives weighing in on elections, like former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and actor James Woods.

When Huckabee posted a joke about mail-in ballots that sparked a debate among Twitter enforcers, Twitter’s former Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth said in a Slack channel that he agrees “it’s a joke” but added that Huckabee is “also literally admitting in a tweet to a crime.”

In another exchange, when Twitter staffers didn’t have a “firm policy basis” for censoring a pro-Trump tweet from Woods, a vocally conservative Hollywood actor, they vowed to “hit him hard on future vio with firmer basis.”

“Vio” would be one of Taibbi’s “Orwellian unwords” for “violation.”

By Tom Ozimek

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