The “Twitter Files,” a collection of emails exchanged by Twitter executives detailing the company’s decision to halt an October 2020 New York Post story in its online tracks, was made public by journalist Matt Taibbi late Friday night from his Twitter account @mtaibbi
1. Thread: THE TWITTER FILES
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 2, 2022
Background of Twitter Files
Three weeks before the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in October 2020, The New York Post released an exclusive, potentially explosive article titled Biden’s Secret Emails: Ukrainian exec thanked Hunter Biden for ‘opportunity to meet’ veep dad. The tabloid’s proprietor, who claimed the laptop belonged to President Biden’s second son, Hunter Biden, and had been abandoned by him, presented it to them with the claim that it contained information. According to the Post, the laptop’s contents included “a filthy, 12-minute video” of Hunter taking crack and having sex, as well as emails and other documents that showed how Hunter had traded favor with Ukrainian businesses.
The leaked Twitter files have some breaking evidence on the subject.
Deep dive: What are Twitter Files?
The political right was outraged by Twitter’s choice to hide the story, and the company’s new CEO, Elon Musk, had pledged to explain. Enter The Twitter Files, a set of released documents from a Facebook whistleblower with a similar moniker.
Musk first hinted at the release late on Friday afternoon, offering exclusive information on “what really happened” with Hunter Biden. Based on internal Twitter files, journalist Matt Taibbi started a lengthy thread of more than thirty tweets three hours later.
In Musk’s opinion, this announcement dispels the gloom looming over Twitter as he strives to change both its external image and internal culture. Although we are unsure, the CEO likely gave Taibbi the papers personally. Musk did publicize the document dump before and after it was released, but Taibbi only referenced “internal sources.”
8. By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: “More to review from the Biden team.” The reply would come back: “Handled.” pic.twitter.com/mnv0YZI4af
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 2, 2022
The revelation is seen as evidence that Twitter acted at the direction of Democrats, according to a large portion of the response to the Twitter Files, particularly from the company’s right-wing detractors. Taibbi claims:
“Both parties had access to these tools. For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and Biden campaign were received and honored.”
He continues by claiming that the mechanism of submitting tweets for deletion was unfair due to the Democratic-leaning political donations made by Twitter workers. That might be the case. These donations may have increased Democrats’ connections to Twitter personnel, but it’s also plausible that they had no effect. The most essential thing to note is that there are no emails in Taibbi’s cache showing these claimed illicit relationships or any actions Twitter workers may have taken due to such improper influence.
Importance of Twitter Files
A piece along the lines of “These Are the Emails That Led to Twitter Suppressing the Hunter Biden Laptop Story” has a big real news value. It is uncommon for a business of Twitter’s size and worth to make such detailed apologies for perceived or actual misbehavior. The emails resemble the papers that were provided in response to a FOIA request. They describe the internal conflict at a business with authority on par with, if not more than, that of a government agency.
Any news source would have delighted to get this scoop, as Katie Notopoulos of BuzzFeed stated in a tweet. Simply put, it’s not a “scandal,” as suggested.
18. Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be “unsafe.” They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography.
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 3, 2022
Twitter’s new owner considers it “the de facto public town square,” suggesting he believes in a level of public accountability. Similar to a government organization once more.
Receiving documents that were once secret in response to a FOIA can be exciting, but it’s also possible that they will be dull and include information that you already know. The Twitter files are just one example of this.
Twitter’s decision to suppress the Post’s report was explained, but a startling new justification was not revealed. Before these records were made public, it seemed like Twitter had buried the story.
The full story has much to cover and requires lots of reading. We will try our best to summarize the ”Twitter Files” tweet series at the time of writing.
To summarize the leaked Twitter Files:
- Senator Joe Biden’s son Hunter Son’s laptop was given to a repairman.
- The repairman copied the laptop before erasing its data and handed it over to Rudy Guliani, Trump’s right-hand lawyer.
- Steve Bannon gave the laptop’s content to the media to write a story about it.
- As stories about Hunter Biden were published around Twitter, Twitter staff censored them as the government ordered.
- Elon Musk bought Twitter and laid off lots of employees.
- Musk Tweets hours before, “This will be awesome,” with a popcorn emoji. It implies that Musk could have leaked the Twitter Files. Because he already knew what is going to happen.
- Matt Taibbi publishes 33 tweets regarding the subject under the name ”Twitter Files’.’
Does Twitter Files also explain why Elon Musk laid off so many employees? How much social media platforms have censored more information? Can we speak about ”free speech” after that? We hope our dear readers can answer the questions one day.