Twitter CEO Elon Musk released internal files from Twitter on Friday, revealing that the big tech giant censored the infamous Hunter Biden laptop story during the final weeks of the 2020 presidential election.
Musk tweeted a link to the account of Matt Taibbi, a Substack journalist, who began tweeting out threads of information from previously redacted emails of former employees at Twitter.
Taibbi tweeted that speech tools at Twitter were once “designed to combat the likes of spam and financial fraudsters,” but that “staff and executives began to find more and more uses for these tools” slowly over time.
According to the journalist, “Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well: first a little, then more often, then constantly.”
Taibbi shared that 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.'”
He then posted a screenshot of links to tweets that Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign had demanded Twitter remove.
According to the journalist, both Donald Trump and Biden “had access to these tools,” but the system “wasn’t balanced.”
“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 wrote.
He then pointed to the suppressed New York Post story regarding the laptop of Hunter Biden.
“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,” he said.
Taibbi added that although several sources recalled hearing a “general” warning from federal law enforcement that summer about potential hacks from foreign entities and that there was “no evidence” of any “government involvement in the laptop story.”
Twitter’s censorship also led to former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany getting locked out of her account just weeks before the presidential election.
Taibbi shared an email from Mike Hahn, a Trump campaign staffer, who criticized Twitter for needlessly censoring her.
Twitter Public Policy Executive Caroline Strom notified the trust and safety teams at the company about the incident, but they informed her that the press secretary had violated their “hacked materials” policy.
The decision was reportedly made “at the highest levels of the company,” according to Taibbi, but without the knowledge of then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. However, former head of legal policy and trust Vijaya Gadde played a “key role.”
Taibbi noted that Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., who said the story had “become more about censorship,” reached out to Gadde but that she responded to the congressman by “diving into the weeds” of the social media platform’s policy.
Musk, who recently purchased Twitter in November, had previously promised to release information as to why the platform blocked the report on Hunter Biden.
Twitter and Facebook took drastic measures to censor the story, stopping users from sharing the article by the New York Post while suspending the authoring newspaper from their account for two weeks over reports that they used hacked information.