The latest installment of the bombshell “Twitter files” reveals more details on how the platform planned and executed its infamous ban on the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.
The latest file released by free speech advocate and Twitter CEO Elon Musk shows that high-profile Democrats like former first lady Michelle Obama pressured platform executives to ban the president from the social media platform.
“Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior—and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms and putting in place policies to prevent their technologies from being used by the nation’s leaders to fuel insurrection,” Obama wrote in a lengthy statement posted to Twitter on Jan. 7.
Journalist Michael Shellenberger released the fourth batch of documents that show internal communications by the company’s executives between Jan. 6-8, 2021, including and shortly after the riot at the Capitol Building, according to Fox News.
The files also showed Twitter maintained a policy — called “Public-interest exceptions” — where elected officials were not banned as there was a great public interest in their comments, even if they seemed to violate other policies.
While Trump’s temporary suspension was lifted, this second policy was specifically and intentionally ignored in Trump’s case, Shellenberger reported. Dorsey was also on vacation at the time of Trump’s ban.
“Dorsey was on vacation in French Polynesia the week of January 4-8, 2021,” Shellenberger reported. The chief executive delegated much of the responsibility to senior executives, including former Twitter Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth and former Head of Legal, Policy, & Trust Vijaya Gadde, who Shellenberger points out were “overwhelmingly progressive.”
“Twitter employees recognize the difference between their own politics & Twitter’s Terms of Service (TOS), but they also engage in complex interpretations of content in order to stamp out prohibited tweets,” Shellenberger also pointed out.