12 December 2022
The latest batch of Twitter Files have dropped, and boy are they a doozy. Yet again, the conspiracy theorists have been vindicated, but it seems the situation is a whole lot worse than we thought.
So far, we have learnt that Twitter worked to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story and also actioned requests from both the Democrats and Republicans to remove tweets during the election lead up.
The Twitter Files Batch 1 demonstrated the inner workings of Twitter when the Hunter Biden story was published by the New York Post, and how Twitter may have colluded with the government to violate the First Amendment. The matter is now being looked at in more detail. Batch 2 showed some of the tools Twitter used to throttle accounts to the point where they were either heavily suppressed or outright silenced. This was followed by the revelation from Elon Musk that accounts of candidates running for election or re-election were censored by the company, indicating election interference. Batch 3 has revealed the biggest revelations yet, and it is one hell of a smoking gun.
For context, these batches are part of a series series of information dumps authorised by Elon Musk via select journalists providing a deep dive into the inner workings of Twitter in the lead-up to, throughout, and post the infamous 2020 election.
The first part focused on events taking place from October 2020 through to January 6, 2021. Part 2 focused on the aftermath of Jan 6, taking us through to January 7, 2021, and Part 3 gave us the inside details on the finale, January 8, the day Twitter took the extraordinary and completely insane step of deplatforming a sitting President.
Matt Taibbi, one of the journalists posting the Twitter Files, notes that before January 6 took place, Twitter had been putting tools and ‘intellectual framework’ in place for months. The tools that Bari Weiss, another journalist, discussed in Batch 2, were used to manipulate visibility of tweets and accounts on the platform. Twitter called this ‘visibility filtering’, which is just their Orwellian term for shadow banning. This behaviour was applied to numerous accounts, including, of course, then President Donald Trump.
Taibbi tells us:
‘As the election approached, senior executives – perhaps under pressure from federal agencies, with whom they met more as time progressed – increasingly struggled with rules and began to speak of “vios” as pretexts to do what they’d likely have done anyway.’
Essentially, Twitter was using what they termed ‘vios’, most likely short for ‘violations’, to justify censorship on the platform. These ‘vios’ were just an excuse. Given the way they were behaving, Twitter staff would have likely have taken action against certain accounts and tweets regardless.
After January 6, there is evidence from internal Slack channels (Slack is an instant messaging program), of high-ups in Twitter getting a kick out of communications with federal agencies such as the FBI. One such conversation Taibbi provides shows head of Trust and Safety at the time, Yoel Roth, ‘lamenting a lack of “generic enough” calendar descriptions concealing his “very interesting” meeting partners’. The conversation goes as follows:
Taibbi provides us with the date October 8, 2020, as the day when Twitter executives opened a channel called ‘us2020_xfn_enforcement’, which he says, ‘…would be home for discussions about election-related removals, especially ones that involved “high-profile” accounts (often called “VITs” or “Very Important Tweeters”).’
This was the channel that was ultimately used to engage in censorship of claims of issues occurring within the 2020 election process.
From what Taibbi tells us, it appears there were two groups of individuals who engaged in content moderation:
‘Safety Operations – a larger department whose staffers used a more rules-based process for addressing issues like porn, scams, and threats – and a smaller, more powerful cadre of senior policy execs like (Yoel) Roth and (Vijaya) Gadde.’
Vijaya Gadde was the head of legal and policy, and seems to be one of the most significant players in the whole fiasco. Coincidentally, she now works for the Department of Homeland Security, shaping ‘misinformation’ policy, a job she acquired soon after Joe Biden came into office.
Taibbi notes that the senior policy execs, including Roth and Gadde, ‘Were a high-speed Supreme Court of moderation, issuing content rulings on the fly, often in minutes and based on guesses, gut calls, even Google searches, even in cases involving the President.’
It is at this point in Batch 3 that Taibbi provides some of the most incredulous revelations.
‘During this time, executives were also clearly liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content. While we’re still at the start of reviewing the #TwitterFiles, we’re finding out more about these interactions every day.’
‘Policy Director Nick Pickles is asked if they should say Twitter detects “misinfo” through “ML, human review, and *partnerships with outside experts?*” The employee asks, “I know that’s been a slippery process… not sure if you want our public explanation to hang on that.” Pickles quickly asks if they could “just say “partnerships”. After a pause, he says, “e.g. not sure we’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts.”’
Already, we can see that Twitter was in cahoots with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Not only that, but these agencies were also helping them to detect and censor ‘misinformation’ on the platform.
But it gets worse.
The next post, Taibbi provides an image in relation to the Hunter Biden laptop story, clearly showing that Yoel Roth ‘not only met weekly with the FBI and DHS, but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI)’. Here’s the post:
And then, we hit the pièce de résistance: the FBI sending reports about tweets to Twitter to moderate. The second tweet reported by the FBI was published by John Basham, former Republican Councillor of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, which claimed ‘between 2 per cent and 25 per cent of Ballots by Mail are Being Rejected for Errors’. Here’s the tweet in question:
This tweet, having been received from the FBI, was put onto the aforementioned enforcement channel, where Twitter employees first decided to cite Politifact to show the first claim was ‘proven to be false’, and went on to note the second had been deemed ‘no vio on numerous occasions’. Twitter ultimately decided to slap the tweet with a ‘learn how voting is safe and secure’ label. One employee noted in the channel, ‘It’s totally normal to have a 2 per cent error rate…’ The final go ahead on this action was given by Yoel Roth.
In taking action against this tweet, Twitter essentially moderated information that the FBI, an agency of the federal government, did not like. That is a serious problem.
What the above screenshots and revelations, and that of the rest of the thread, demonstrate is something incredibly sinister…
Twitter appears to have been, at one point, colluding with the FBI, DHS, and DNI to censor and suppress information pertaining to the 2020 election in a coordinated effort to unseat President Trump. It is, to say the least, not entirely ethical and may not be legal. Every single one of the individuals who took part in this to deliver the White House to the Biden administration and the Democrat Party should be investigated.
When we couple this smoking gun with the revelations from the first Twitter Files drop, which demonstrates that the government were colluding with Twitter to blatantly breach the First Amendment, we get one of the most horrifying scandals of all time.
While I’m not going to go into detail on the rest of the thread, there is one more important point to be made from this drop.
While Twitter was censoring Trump, Georgia Republican congresswoman Jody Hice, and putting James Woods on notice for posting a screen grab of a Trump tweet that Twitter execs prevented from being shared, they approved pro-Biden tweets that warned Trump ‘may try to steal the election’. The #StealOurVotes hashtag stemmed from a theory that Trump and the recently appointed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett would steal the election. Further, a tweet where Eric Holder claimed that the US Postal Service had been ‘deliberately crippled’ by the Trump administration was initially slapped with a warning label, which Roth saw and told employees to remove.
All of these instances clearly demonstrate that Twitter was being run by left-wing operatives who were quick to silence Conservative accounts. While right-wing accounts were always slapped with labels, limited in reach, or censored in some way, every excuse under the sun was made to protect left-wing accounts. The bias is now clear as day. No one can seriously claim that Twitter employees were fair and balanced in their judgement.
These latest revelations, in combination with those already released prior, confirm that the conspiracy theories about conservatives being shadow banned were accurate. And while Democrats and those on the Left may continue to deny everything and claim this is all just one big nothingburger, it is the complete opposite. It is a scandal of immense proportions, one beyond even what the ‘conspiracy theorists’ imagined.
The establishment is terrified. They’re running scared. This is why they did not want Elon Musk to buy Twitter. Now, all their secrets are coming out.
There are questions that, of course, must be answered. One of the most important ones will require Musk to name the candidates suppressed by Big Tech, which elections were interfered with by Twitter and if any other agencies were involved. Given Elon’s note that this was an issue not just contained to America, it stands to reason that elections in other countries were affected.
Just how much worse it gets is anyone’s guess. From what we’ve seen so far, the files on Covid will no doubt be of great interest.
But if the revelations thus far are any indication, the story is only just getting started.