It didn’t take long for the third installment of “Twitter Files” to drop; it arrived last night.
If you’d like to be brought up to date on the second installment, as reported late Thursday by Bari Weiss, see yesterday’s newsletter and also this write-up in the NEW YORK POST, which includes helpful links to stories specifically on Twitter’s censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story...
JUST THE NEWS offers details about the responses from GOP lawmakers…
Part One of the third installment, called “THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP,” deals with Twitter’s “vast array of tools” to limit the impact of former President Trump on Twitter --- and this started well before January 6. In fact, as Matt Taibbi reports, one Twitter executive, whose name he redacted (editorial aside: WHY?), said in an internal message that the decision to ban Trump was not made just from his actions and supporters related to January 6, but “over the course of the election and frankly the last 4+ years.”
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As time went on, particularly before the 2020 election, an increasing number of cases were ‘handled’ by high-ranking executives on a subjective, case-by-case basis, Taibbi says. And there’s plenty of nudge-nudge-wink-wink about meeting with government officials packed into top staffers’ internal messages. For example, after January 6, Yoel Roth sent a message reading “DEFINITELY NOT meeting with the FBI I SWEAR.” Another Twitter employee --- name and picture unfortunately redacted by Taibbi --- responded “lmao” (laughing my a** off).
Taibbi reports that “executives were...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.”
The messages are astonishing. For example, when a member of the marketing team asks if they can say Twitter detects misinformation “through partnerships with outside experts,” Policy Director Nick Pickles asks this person to just say “partnerships,” because he wasn’t sure they’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts...”
According to Taibbi, the little ivory-tower group that made calls about election-related posts by people wielding a lot of influence did it “on the fly, often in minutes and based on guesses, gut calls, even Google searches, even in cases involving the President.”
They introduced a new tool on December 10, 2020, the day Trump tweeted or retweeted about 20 posts challenging the outcome of the election. This was a new mode of suppression called “L3 deamplification.” “L3” was a label that automatically limited a tweet’s ability to be shared. Team members were told to start utilizing this new tool the following day.
Taibbi says Twitter applied several “bots” to Trump’s account, monitoring the claims of both Trump and connected entities such as BREITBART. This activity was going on long before January 6, and the outright banning of Trump from the platform came after they’d done everything else at their disposal.
As reported by Trace Gallagher on FOX NEWS Friday night, the weekly meetings Twitter was having with government officials included not just the FBI but also the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Director of National Intelligence. (Note: Since Biden’s inauguration, the DNI director has been Avril Haines, an Obama-era deep-stater who served as Deputy National Security Adviser and Deputy Director of the CIA. Obama’s DNI was the infamous James Clapper. I seriously doubt that Trump’s DNI, John Ratcliffe, was included in these meetings, but it would be good to know if he was aware of them.)
Regarding the Hunter Biden laptop story, Gallagher related this telling memo exchange:
–- “What’s new for you since our last check-in?”
–- “‘Hacked materials’ exploded. We blocked the NEW YORK POST story; then we unblocked it (but said the opposite), then said we unblocked it...and now we’re in a messy situation where our policy is in shambles, comms is angry, reporters think we’re idiots, and we’re refactoring an exceedingly complex story 18 days out form the election.”
Taibbi says that Trump was being “visibility filtered” (Twitter’s term for shadowbanning) as late as a week before the election. “Here, senior execs didn’t appear to have a particular violation,” he says, “but still worked fast to make sure a fairly anodyne [inoffensive] Trump tweet couldn’t be ‘replied to, shared, or liked.’” Sample tweet: “’VERY WELL DONE ON SPEED’: the group is pleased the Trump tweet is dealt with quickly.”
Apparently on Election Day, the FBI was sending Twitter messages even about such issues as mail-in ballots --- specifically, the high rejection rate of ballots that supposedly contained errors.
And in answer to those who keep repeating the talking point that Twitter received requests from both Democrats and Republicans, there’s this: “Examining the entire election enforcement...we didn’t see one reference to moderation requests from the Trump White House, or Republicans generally. We looked. They may exist; we were told they do. However, they were absent here.”
Speaking of Democrat talking points, to help you understand the mentality we’re dealing with, here’s a commentary from Canadian former radio shock-jock Dean Blundell showing that what we see as horrifying, those on the left are blinded to. Sample Blundell tweet: “This tweet thread about the “Twitter Files 2” is comedy,”he says. So Twitter prevented (bleep)holes and anti-vax (bleep)heads who threatened the lives of your kids from trending. @bariweiss is an Elon proxy, and I think she’s angling to have Elon’s 15th kid.” Folks, don’t even try. There are plenty of rational people capable of seeing the danger of social media censorship; concentrate on helping THEM understand what’s wrong with this.
If you can get past the foul language, general nastiness and condescension, here’s his full commentary, but I’ve really just included the link to show I didn’t make this up.
Ironically, Blundell himself was canceled, more than once, for things he said on the radio. Now he just blogs and trolls the internet with comments like this, as far we we can tell.
There’s going to be a lot of this sort of savagery from the left, because it’s all they’ve got. It would be fun to refute this commentary point-by-point, but in the interest of time we’ll just take one for now. Blundell repeats the talking point that when you signed up for Twitter, you had to check the “Terms of Service” box and that you’re REALLY STUPID for not remembering that now. “Those terms of service dictate the platform’s ability to nuke you, your account and your ‘speech’ anytime they want,” he says.
Ah, but can they really write just anything into their “Terms of Service,” whether or not a court would find that constitutional? Do those “Terms of Service” wave a magic wand and allow the FBI, DHS and DNI to conspire with Twitter to work on their behalf, especially before an election, to quell political speech –- and a candidate –- they don’t like? Blundell might want to ask the Supreme Court if those “terms of service” miraculously allow that to go on.
And even if they lucked into a typical DC court and a “dream team” of Perkins Coie attorneys and managed to avoid criminal penalty, does that mean a democratic republic such as ours can possibly endure in a state of conversational lockdown? No, it can’t possibly survive.
Some on the left are genuinely sad because they’ve been conditioned to believe Twitter will now be a place for misinformation and hate. Elton John tweeted, “All my life I’ve tried to use music to bring people together. Yet it saddens me to see how misinformation is now being used to divide our world. I’ve decided to no longer use Twitter, given their recent change in policy which will allow misinformation to flourish unchecked.”
Musk responded perfectly: “I love your music. Hope you come back. Is there any misinformation in particular that you’re concerned about?” He hasn’t heard back.
The presumed House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana tweeted, “Twitter did blacklist/suppress accounts their leftist employees disagreed with & manipulated trends against conservatives...They can’t get away with this.” We can’t LET them get away with this.
We’ll have much more analysis of this third installment on Monday.
Margot Cleveland makes the case that social media couldn’t have buried the Hunter Biden laptop story if ‘journalists’ had done their jobs. (What is Big Tech gonna do --- ban them all?) But reporters were happy to go along with the “Russian disinformation” scenario, without any evidence at all.
Likewise, with most of the media ignoring the proof that Twitter suppressed the laptop story, the BABYLON BEE reports that the DNC and the media are colluding to suppress a story about the DNC and the media colluding to suppress a story.