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Tipsheet

New 'Twitter Files' Revealed

Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Bari Weiss released part five of the "Twitter Files" on Monday afternoon, specifically detailing the social media company's removal of former President Donald Trump, a lifetime ban that was reversed last month after Elon Musk took over.

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Weiss' thread picked up the story on January 8, 2021, when Trump had "one remaining strike before being at risk of permanent suspension from Twitter" and he fired off two tweets in the early morning hours. One, a message to those who voted for Trump in the 2020 election, and the second announcing his decision not to attend the inauguration of Joe Biden. 

As Weiss explained, "Twitter had resisted calls both internal and external to ban Trump on the grounds that blocking a world leader from the platform or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information that people should be able to see and debate." That was a stated position of the company, Weiss pointed out. In 2019, Twitter wrote that its "mission is to provide a forum that enables people to be informed and to engage their leaders directly" in order to "protect the public's right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account."

Previous installments of the Twitter Files have shown how calls for Trump to be excised from Twitter's platform grew louder, especially after January 6, 2021, but that didn't mean that everyone within Twitter was gung-ho on banning Trump. 

One conversation Weiss tweeted is from an employee who is "from China" and said "I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation." Still, Weiss noted, "voices like that one appear to have been a distinct minority within the company" and "many Twitter employees were upset that Trump hadn't been banned earlier."

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What followed — and Weiss documented in her latest dispatch on the "Twitter Files" — was a concerted effort as "Twitter employees organized to demand their employer ban Trump." Those efforts included claims that Trump was trying "to thread the needle of incitement without violating the rules."

Those employees' efforts resulted in an open letter being published by The Washington Post on January 8 that was signed by more than 300 Twitter employees calling for then-CEO Jack Dorsey to pull the trigger and ban Trump. 

However, Twitter employees "quickly concluded that Trump had *not* violated Twitter's policies," Weiss explained. Employees apparently struggled to build the case that Trump's tweets from earlier on January 8 constituted "incitement." At least one employee on the Twitter policy team reported that a review of the latest tweets from the president did not find any violations by Trump. 

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Even more explicitly, she said "Safety has assessed the DJT Tweet above and determined that there is no violation of our policies at this time."

The same conclusion was reached later that morning about Trump's other tweet. "It's a clear no vio[lation]," they concluded. "It's just to say he's not attending the inauguration."

Despite the findings of Twitter employees, executive Vijaya Gadde looked for a workaround, an excuse, to ban Trump anyway by suggesting Trump's not-in-violation tweets were actually "coded incitement."

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Gadde's efforts were escalated by others within Twitter, who suggested reading Trump's tweet out of context could allow them to slap it with a violation of the company's "Glorification of Violence" policy.

As this was all growing out of control among Twitter's nearly entirely homogenous ideological bent, Twitter leaders call an all-staff meeting where CEO Dorsey and Gadde answer questions from the employees had gotten themselves worked up into a frothing mess. As it turns out, according to internal chats tweeted in Weiss' thread, the meeting did not tamp down the growing anger of the mob.

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Some employees, including Yoel Roth, grew worried that Dorsey was preparing to share the reasoning behind Twitter's suspension of Trump.

Shortly thereafter, Twitter announced it had banned the President of the United States, to which employees reacted jubilantly, as the leftist thrill of virtue signaling coursed through their veins after putting another feather in their cap in their intolerant campaign to silence those with whom they disagree. 

Having claimed what they viewed as a victory in removing Trump from the platform, Twitter employees then turned their attention to going after "medical misinformation," and we all know how that went — and which will hopefully be exposed further in subsequent releases of the "Twitter Files."

Quite presciently, Parag Agrawal remarked in the wake of Twitter's decision to ban Trump that "content moderation" had "reached a breaking point now."

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This is a developing story and may be updated. 

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