“Handled,” a former Twitter staffer communicated to another as they dutifully complied with censorship commands from the Biden 2020 presidential campaign in October of that year.
Friday, independent journalist Matt Taibbi posted internal documents on behalf of Elon Musk to reveal the inner workings behind the politically-motivated censorship in which previous Twitter management engaged. Substack reporter Bari Weiss will release another series of files in the coming days, says Musk.
Detractors of Big Tech had long accused the service of arbitrarily suppressing accounts, governing with political biases, and colluding with the government. The file dump proved each suspicion accurate.
#TwitterFiles disclosed frequent communications between formerly high-ranking executives and the Democratic National Committee (DNC). One document uncovered that members of the DNC routinely directed Twitter to remove posts that reflected negatively on Joe Biden, to which Twitter obeyed.
“By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: ‘More to review from the Biden team,'” Taibbi reports.
And more there was.
A separate email reveals that Censorship Queen Vijaya Gadde led a small group of execs to use a tool originally designed to suppress child pornography to prevent the transmission of The New York Post’s credibly-reported exposé on Hunter Biden and his influence-peddling operation for his father. Gadde considered accurate information that would hurt Joe Biden’s presidential odds on par with sharing photos of naked children.
Her crew then baselessly labeled the report “hacked material,” as their relationship with DNC officials escalated.
The once-alleged relationship between the government and previous Twitter management is now confirmed, and it’s ominous. Put simply, one side of the political aisle gained eerie control over a monocultural social media service.
Taibbi’s reporting explains the disparate distinction between how Twitter handled requests from the Biden and Trump campaigns.
“Because Twitter was and is overwhelmingly staffed by people of one political orientation, there were more channels, more ways to complain, open to the left (well, Democrats) than the right,” Taibbi explained.
In fact, we learned on Tuesday that Elon Musk hastily fired Twitter’s deputy general counsel James Baker for trying to suppress information Taibbi and Weiss were charged with publicly releasing. Before Twitter, Baker was general counsel at the FBI and a key figure in the bureau’s role in the Russia collusion hoax.
Conspiracies turned realities continue to define this era in time.
Throttling the escalation of censorship is hardly the greatest ramification of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter. His purchase of the platform promises to dismantle the unconstitutional power Democrats obtained by virtue of a social media platform.
The power dynamic between the political party and social media service enabled the government to subvert the U.S. Constitution. A subsequent report from the New York Post over the weekend revealed that the FBI sent frequent and “fake” warnings to Twitter in October 2020 of an incoming “hack-and-leak” operation that targeted Hunter Biden. The FBI’s warning prompted the platform to suppress the laptop report that came later that month.
Moreover, Twitter provided the government with a back channel to limit users’ access to factual information. The relationship granted the DNC the ability to define thought-crimes as they choose.
Internal documents say Twitter targeted influential accounts that deemed the Hunter Biden report credible on behalf of the DNC, including actor James Woods.
“Celebrities and unknowns alike could be removed or reviewed at the behest of a political party,” Taibbi wrote alongside a screenshot of an email exchange between Twitter employees.
That describes a clear violation of the First Amendment. Defenders of censorship long refuted such claims with the rebuttal that Twitter is a private company, and thereby the First Amendment need not apply to its rulings. While previously correct, the relationship between Big Tech and Washington undermines this defense.
The published communications prove Biden officials strong-armed a communication service into carrying out the authoritarian measures the First Amendment prohibits the government from exercising. Suppressing critics at the behest of the White House makes a private company a “state actor,” whom targets can sue for restricting First Amendment rights.
And the consequence of Twitter’s obedience is substantial.
It’s not hyperbole to say Twitter changed the course of the 2020 political election. A recent Technometrica Institute of Policy and Politics poll found that 79% of voters say “truthful” coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop would have changed the results of the 2020 election.
Call it election interference or collusion, if you so choose.
In addition to interfering in the election and thus threatening a prerequisite to democracy, Biden officials urged Twitter to silence detractors of its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, a measure it could not legally carry out itself.
Leaked emails from July reveal that Biden staffers pressured the service to ban journalists for posting skepticism over the effectiveness of lockdowns, mask mandates, and mRNA vaccines. One particular email referenced former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson, whom the service banned permanently shortly after pressure from the White House.
The compromised relationship between Twitter and Biden officials blurred the lines between the government and the private sphere. As a result, one presidential campaign — and later administration — gained uncanny control over thoughts and the flow of information on behalf of a vulnerable social media service that succumbed to political obedience.
The dynamic duo of the DNC and previous Twitter management sought to intercept the distribution of speech. Twitter serves as the de-facto editor of the press, the town hall of the media industry. Thus there could not be freedom of the press with a home base so vastly restrictive.
Twitter provided the government with a workaround to the constitution as if a Chinese-style social credit system had crept into American society.
Elon Musk’s role as Chief Twit, as he named himself, immediately strips the Democratic party of its unjust jurisdiction over Big Tech, what became perhaps its most effective political weapon.
The change in ownership eradicates Twitter’s role as an agent to the government.
As we argued Friday immediately following the release of the files, Elon Musk did not just purchase a social media company with influence over the consensus conversation. Rather, his acquisition dismantled a tool in which the government wielded without regulation.
Ultimately, Musk undid the monopoly Washington Democrats had over Big Tech governance. And there were no logical limits to the extent of the control the DNC envisioned conquering with Twitter firmly under its wing.
Elon Musk’s purchase prevents Twitter from further exhibiting, or “handling,” unconstitutional actions on behalf of a political party.