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Tipsheet

Former Exec Claims Twitter's Scrambling to Censor Hunter's Laptop Was Mere 'Mistake'

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

After Elon Musk teamed up with a handful of independent writers to release round after round of "Twitter Files," the House Oversight Committee jumped into the sea of revelations on Wednesday morning with the first installment in a series of hearings on "Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias." 

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Their first hearing focused on Twitter's suppression of news stories regarding Hunter Biden's laptop and the damning information it contained. Witnesses for Wednesday's hearing included Twitter's former Chief Legal Officer Vijaya Gadde, former Deputy General Counsel James Baker, and former Global Head of Trust & Safety Yoel Roth. Essentially the people most frequently mentioned in the Twitter Files as being apparent cheerleaders of censorship.

While some of the left and in the mainstream media sought to question the veracity of the Twitter Files and dispute the legitimacy of what they seemed to show, those doubts about how far Twitter went to silence a narrative that was inconvenient for the Biden family were finally dashed once and for all in the Oversight Committee hearing. 

Roth, under oath, made an attempt at a mea culpa, admitting Twitter's decision to censor The New York Post's bombshell stories on Hunter's laptop was a "mistake."

"At first glance, bore a lot of similarities to the 2016 Russian hack-and-leak operation targeting the DNC," Roth testified. "And in that moment, with limited information, Twitter made a mistake," he added, even though the Twitter Files showed a seeming willingness to construct a narrative to justify its decision to censor coverage of Hunter's laptop. "Under the Distribution of Hacked Material policy, the company decided to prevent links to The New York Post's stories about the laptop from being shared across the service," Roth added, reiterating the outcome of its "mistake."

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But, as Townhall reported at the time the relevant Twitter Files were released:

That decision, labeling expression about Hunter Biden's laptop "unsafe," was "made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role," Taibbi continued in his thread."'They just freelanced it,' is how one former employee characterized the decision," he said. "'Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it,'" Taibbi revealed of the decision which triggered great confusion within Twitter as employees emailed they were "struggling to understand the policy basis" for the decision.

Despite the fact that Taibbi was told "everyone knew this was f***ed," Twitter continued to restrict talk of Hunter's laptop, citing "lessons of 2016" and deciding to keep "preventing this content from being amplified."

Twitter's former VP of Global Comms Brandon Borrman asked in another communication shared by Taibbi, "Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?" Twitter's Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker — formerly general counsel for the FBI — said it was fine because "caution is warranted."

What's more, Taibbi explained that the "hacked materials" designation — which that Twitter claimed enabled its censorship of the Hunter Biden story — "normally required an official/law enforcement finding of hack." But the internal documents led Taibbi to the conclusion that "such a finding never appears throughout what one executive describes as a 'whirlwind' 24-hour, company-wide mess."

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Is that a "mistake," or is that a concerted effort to concoct a story to support their suppression of a relevant news story because its damaging to the Biden family?

During a back-and-forth with Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Roth later couldn't come up with a policy that the Post's reporting on Hunter Biden's laptop violated — nor an allegedly required government finding that the laptop was the result of a hack — to meet Twitter's policy regarding hacked materials. 

Democrats on the Oversight Committee, however, kept up their antics to try and minimize the impact of apparent collusion between big tech companies such as Twitter and powerful Democrats such as Joe Biden. For example, here's AOC saying the suppression of stories about Hunter Biden's laptop was just a "24-hour hiccup."

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AOC can try to distract and minimize all she wants, but the House Oversight Committee's chairman, James Comer (R-KY), is only getting started with this series of hearings on the way government has used friendly relationships with sympathetic tech companies to circumvent Americans' First Amendment rights. 

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