Elon Musk Exposes Real Reason Twitter Censored Former President Donald Trump

Elon Musk Exposes Real Reason Twitter Censored Former President Donald Trump

Elon Musk Exposes Real Reason Twitter Censored Former President Donald Trump

By Caden Pearson

Journalist Matt Taibbi published the third volume of the so-called “Twitter files” on Friday, exposing the social media platform’s censorship and de-platforming of former President Donald Trump.

The latest disclosure revealed that Twitter executives used the platform’s formidable “visibility filtering” powers against Trump ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections, and that engagement with the FBI intensified before Trump was permanently suspended.

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters before boarding Air Force One for his last time as president at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Jan. 20, 2021. (Pete Marovich/Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters before boarding Air Force One for his last time as president at Joint Base Andrews, Md., on Jan. 20, 2021.

Endorsed by Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk, the “Twitter files” have exposed the social media company’s censorship machine.

The new report, report titled “The Removal of Donald Trump,” is the first of three specifically examining the actions of Twitter executives during the period from October 2020 to when Trump was deplatformed on Jan. 8, 2021.

Internal Slack chats at Twitter reveal that engagement between the company’s executives and federal law enforcement and intelligence organizations surged during this period.

Elon Musk

Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk speaks during the live-streamed unveiling of the Tesla Semi electric truck in Nev. on Dec. 1, 2022. 

“Whatever your opinion on the decision to remove Trump that day, the internal communications at Twitter between January 6th-January 8th have clear historical import,” Taibbi wrote. “Even Twitter’s employees understood in the moment it was a landmark moment in the annals of speech.”

“Is this the first sitting head of state to ever be suspended?” one Twitter employee, whose name is redacted, asked in a Slack chat that day.

Banning Trump

The messages show that Twitter executives removed Trump in part because of what one executive called the “context surrounding” the actions of Trump and his supporters “over the course of the election and frankly last 4+ years.”

In a message to Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former head of legal policy and trust, one executive whose name is redacted provided a “quick take” formulated by internal researchers and external academics to help decide whether to censor a Trump tweet or use it “as a last straw” before banning him.

The executive said the “decision on whether to pull that particular tweet” or use it “as a last straw” for Trump depends on “the overall context and narrative in which that tweet lives.”

“Context matters and the narrative that [T]rump and his friends have pursued over the course of this election and frankly last 4+ years must be taken into account,” the executive said, according to a screenshot of internal messages.

Before Trump was banned, Twitter also created a new tool to censor the then-sitting president after the election when he was vocal with his claims of election fraud. Internally, executives referred to the tool as “L3 deamplication.”

The new tool was announced on Dec. 10, 2020, when “Trump was in the middle of firing off 25 tweets saying things like, ‘A coup is taking place in front of our eyes,’” Taibbi wrote.

On Thursday, The Free Press editor Bari Weiss, another reporter handpicked by Musk as a conduit for releasing the files, published her report on the extent of Twitter’s tools for censorship, revealing the social media company’s secret blacklists. Her report noted that executives refer to “shadow-banning” as “visibility filtering.”

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