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Tipsheet

Twitter Files Reveal What Led to Trump's Ban

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The third part of Elon Musk’s Twitter Files reveals what led to the ban of former President Trump from the social media platform. 

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Last year, Trump was taken off of Twitter following the Capitol protests on January 6. Independent journalist, Matt Taibbi, said that internal company messages show how the social media platform’s standards began to disappear within months leading up to the J6. Even high-ranking executives were violating their policies while interacting with federal agencies.

Twitter executives remained in relationships with the FBI to decide what postings should be targeted for censorship. 

Taibbi pointed out how Twitter’s head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, attempted to describe how he struggled to hide the purpose of weekly meetings with FBI and other government officials that helped the companies decide on policing posts on its platform.

“I’m a big believer in calendar transparency. But I reached a certain point where my meetings became…very interesting…to people and there weren’t meeting names generic enough to cover,” Roth wrote. 

In response, someone who had access to the meeting said “very Boring Business Meeting That Is Definitely Not About Trump :)”

The bombshell findings noted how Twitter executives began to prepare “to ban future presidents and White Houses – perhaps even Joe Biden. The ‘new administration,’ says one exec, ‘will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary.’”

An executive suggested that what ultimately led to the ban on Trump was the "context surrounding” Trump and his supporters that have “pursued over the course of this election and frankly last 4+ years must be taken into account.”

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“As the election approached, senior executives — perhaps under pressure from federal agencies, with whom they met more as time progressed — increasingly struggled with rules, and began to speak of ‘vios’ [violations] as pretexts to do what they’d likely have done anyway,” Taibbi said. 

Before Trump’s ban, Twitter began to put warning labels on the former president’s tweets, with a “new ‘L3 deamplification’ tool” that limits users from sharing Trump’s messages.

“Some executives wanted to use the new deamplification tool to silently limit Trump’s reach more right away,” Taibbi said. 

Taibbi said that despite Twitter blaming January 6 for Trump’s ban, the groundwork had been laid well before then.

"In the end, they looked at a broad picture. But that approach can cut both ways," Taibbi wrote. "The bulk of the internal debate leading to Trump’s ban took place in those three January days. However, the intellectual framework was laid in the months preceding the Capitol riots."


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