Musk releases 'Twitter Files', a record of internal censorship in the platform

He tweeted a link to the account of independent journalist and author Matt Taibbi, who posted a series of tweets revealing sensitive information


  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Sat 3 Dec 2022, 6:26 AM

Last updated: Sat 3 Dec 2022, 6:41 AM

On Friday, Twitter CEO Elon Musk released internal 'Twitter Files' that showed the company responded to a request "from the Biden team" during the 2020 election — shortly after the company cracked down on Hunter Biden's (son of US President Joe Biden) laptop story.

Musk tweeted a link to the account of independent journalist and author Matt Taibbi, who began posting a series of tweets revealing the inner story about the decision behind the censorship of Hunter Biden's laptop story.

"The Twitter Files, Part One: How and Why Twitter Blocked the Hunter Biden Laptop Story," Taibbi tweeted.

"On October 14, 2020, the New York Post published BIDEN SECRET EMAILS, an expose based on the contents of Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop," he continued.

According to Taibbi, the social media company "took extraordinary steps to suppress" The New York Post's Hunter Biden laptop 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," he said in a tweet.


The author further said:

"Although several sources recalled hearing about a 'general' warning from federal law enforcement that summer about possible foreign hacks, there's no evidence — that I've seen — of any government involvement in the laptop story. In fact, that might have been the problem..."

"The decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, [and] with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role," he added.

One of the employees of Twitter called the decision to censor the story "freelanced". Taibbi further quoted the employee as saying that "the hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realised that the excuse wasn't going to hold. However, no one had the guts to reverse it."

Sharing the picture on twitter, Taibbi wrote in the caption:

"You can see the confusion in the following lengthy exchange, which ends up, including Gadde and former Trust and safety chief Yoel Roth. Comms. official Trenton Kennedy writes, 'I'm struggling to understand the policy basis for marking this as unsafe'.

Taibbi also shared a picture on Twitter which termed the NYPost's Hunter Biden Laptop Article as "PRIVILEGED AND CONFIDENTIAL" and reads: "our teams continue to investigate the origins of the material included in the reporting".

Trenton Kennedy, a user on Twitter stated:

"I'm struggling to understand the policy basis for marking this as unsafe, and I think the best explainability argument for this externally, would be that we're waiting to understand if this story is the result of hacked materials. We'll face hard questions on this if we don't have some kind of solid reasoning for marking the link unsafe.

Earlier, in 2020, The New York Post revealed that Hunter Biden introduced his father — then-Vice President — to a top executive at an Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden had put pressure on government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.

The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi — an advisor to the board of Burisma — allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

"Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It's really [sic] an honour and pleasure," the email reads, according to The New York Post.

An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma's No 3 executive, asking Hunter for "advice on how you could use your influence" on the company's behalf.

Musk, who has vowed to turn Twitter into a platform of free speech, had been teasing the release of the internal files for several days.

"The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself. The public deserves to know what really happened," he wrote.

"This is a battle for the future of civilisation. If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead," he tweeted on Monday, after vowing that the files would "soon to be published on Twitter itself".

More news from Business