The fourth part of the “Twitter Files” series was published Saturday night by journalist Michael Shellenberger, outlining how Twitter executives twisted the platform’s rules with the intention of blacklisting former President Donald Trump on January 7, 2020.
In a recently published thread, journalist Michael Shellenberger outlined the fourth release of the “Twitter Files” series, detailing the internal workings at Twitter and conversations between executives ahead of the banning of former President Donald Trump.
Shellenberger states that following the events at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Twitter faced immense pressure to ban former President Trump, with many claiming they needed to ban Trump for safety reasons. During this time, then-CEO Jack Dorsey was on vacation and appeared to delegate much of the decision-making to other top executives including Global Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth and Head of Legal, Policy, & Trust Vijaya Gadde, the platform’s censorship queen:
On January 7, Dorsey emailed employees saying that the platform must remain consistent in its policies, including allowing users to return to the platform following temporary bans. Roth reassured an employee that “people who care about this… aren’t happy with where we are.”
Roth later excited DM’d colleagues stating “GUESS WHAT. Jack just approved repeat offender for civic integrity.” This would allow Twiter to create a system where five violations of rules would result in permanent suspension:
Colleagues continued to ask Roth about “incitement to violence,” and on January 8, Twitter announced a permanent ban on Trump’s account due to the “risk of the further incitement of violence.” Twitter said that the ban was based on “specifically how [Trump’s tweets] are being received & interpreted,” but Shellenberger notes that in 2019, Twitter stated that it did “not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent.”
In another discussion, Roth asks a colleague to add “stopthesteal” and “Kraken” to a blacklist of terms to be unamplified. The colleague objects stating that doing so could risk “deamplifying counterspeech” that validated the 2020 election results.
The latest Twitter Files release appears to show a general attempt by Roth and other Twitter employees to justify the banning of Trump and attempts to figure out how current policy could be applied in a way that would explain the permanent suspension.
Shellenberger ends the thread by noting that Facebook’s suspension of former President Trump and its willingness to ignore its own rules put the final nail in the coffin for Trump’s return to Twitter.
Read the full Twitter Files thread here.