What are the “Twitter Files” shared by Elon Musk?
American journalist Matt Taibbi, based on internal documents, coordinates the debate within the company about the moderation of the article about Biden, the son of the American president.
“ We are here“. Three words and a few popcorn emojis by way of illustration: Elon Musk’s short tweet on December 3rd “Twitter FilesBy American journalist Matt Taibbi. “queuesIt is the name commonly given to investigations conducted in the United States using classified documents. The leaked files reveal the underbelly of Twitter’s controversial moderation decision regarding the 2020 presidential election, fueling resentment from the Republican camp against the social network, which has been accused of being partisan. While we don’t know how Matt Taibbi got hold of these documents, his investigation was supported by the new head of Twitter.
- What exactly are we talking about?
“Twitter filesexcerpts from emails and internal company conversations released by American journalist Matt Taibbi. The latter purports to show how and why an investigation published by the New York Post in October 2020 about Hunter Biden, the son of the current US president, was temporarily blocked by Twitter two weeks before the US presidential election. .
Specifically, the social network removed the ability to share the press article on Twitter, even with private messages. The New York Post also refused to remove tweets referring to the article. Against the rules of the latter platform, the newspaper’s account was suspended from October 14 to 30, 2020.
At the time, a New York Post article claimed Hunter Biden revealed how his father, the then US vice president, introduced him to a top executive at Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, in 2015. To back up his claims, the article released excerpts from emails showing the arrangement of the meeting between the Bidens and the executive. However, a year later, the American administration obtained the resignation of the new chief prosecutor of Ukraine, Viktor Shokin. The latter will claim that Joe Biden tried to prevent him from investigating the activities of Burisman, where Hunter Biden sits as a director. A meeting between the company’s CEO and Joe Biden for the newspaper tends to prove this charge.
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However, obtaining these emails seemed a bit unbelievable in the eyes of several American media: Hunder Biden’s laptop, which was a victim of water damage, was stored in a computer repair shop in April 2019. It would end up in the hands of Republican politician Rudy Giuliani, who leaked the New York Post. In an official document released by Politico media on October 19, 2020, several former high-ranking American intelligence officials indicated that these emails were provided “all classic signs of a Russian disinformation operation“.
Twitter and Facebook later decided to limit sharing of the poll, which was released just days before the presidential election. What to feed, on the side of the Republican camp, the theories that the big social networks want to suppress embarrassing statements for the Democratic candidate.
- What are the new elements brought byTwitter files»?
Matt Taibbi reports on how Twitter decided to limit access to the New York Post article, and above all, the decision was not unanimous within the social network’s teams.
The documents it released show that the campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden regularly contacted Twitter to request the removal of certain content. “Both sides had access to these tools. In 2020, for example, requests from the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored“, Details Matt Taibbi.
The journalist believes that the allegations of the Democratic camp were liked by Twitter and took the article of the “New York Post” as an example. “Twitter has taken extraordinary measures to cover up the investigation […]. They even blocked direct messaging, a tool reserved for extreme cases like child pornography.“, he says, illustrating his point with excerpts from internal conversations between teams.
But the decision to suspend the New York Post account, citing the presence of elements resulting from the computer hack, was seen by several employees as an inconsistency. Matt Taibbi tweets the testimony of one of them. “Hacking was an excuse. After a few hours, almost everyone realized that this was not going to happen. But no one had the courage to return“.
Finally, the journalist describes what he sees as an inconsistency: the decision to limit access to the New York Post publication could have been made at the company’s top management level, but without including then-CEO Jack Dorsey. . It highlights the key role played by Vijaya Gadde, the former head of legal, policy and trust affairs at the company known for banning Donald Trump’s account. He, along with former CEO Parag Agrawal, is among those who were promptly fired by Elon Musk last October.
- What are the consequences of these? “Twitter files» ?
This first series of documents once again highlights the close connection between the two American political camps with the Twitter platform. But the spread of theseTwitter filesdid not receive a strong response. “ Some conservatives lament this failure“Wrote the Washington Post on Saturday.”This is not the bombshell we were expectingNew York Post columnist Miranda Devine added.
Among several reactions, the former president of the United States, Donald Trump, “did not comment on the post.Twitter Fileson Truth Social (its own social network was launched in 2021 Editor’s note) and denounces massive fraud surrounding the 2020 presidential election.
Several Twitter employees were affected by the publication of the names and emails of several colleagues by Matt Taibbi, thus exposing them to public censure. “We are angry. Someone might get killedElon Musk has already announced that “the second partThe Twitter Files will be published on Saturday.