Fri. Jun 7th, 2024

The Twitter Files Part 1:
What Secret Details The Document Revealed And What Is It Impact?

The Twitter Files • Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi)

A look at the release of Twitter files, what it reveals,
what attempts to dilute the information showcase.
Why the 2nd round of Twitter files is not out yet?

The Twitter Files……

Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk had promised to release the Twitter Files to uphold the principle of transparency. The files were meant to grant an insight into what happened at Twitter before Musk acquired the firm. It was specifically meant to release information about Twitter’s election interference. The Twitter Files were released on Friday and journalist Matt Taibii and Bari Weiss were the first journalists who gained access to the files.

Matt Taibii disclosed some of the information the Twitter Files had and added that more information will follow. Elon Musk said that the files that were released were just part one of the Twitter Files and more will come soon. When the Twitter Files were released, they did reveal a lot. Many people in America and around the world have for long suspected that Twitter has a political bias and it censors people who are not aligned with political ideology of the platform.

The Twitter Files 1 Hunter Biden Laptop Hidden
The Twitter Files 1 Hunter Biden Laptop Hidden

It was last week that Elon Musk dangled the arrival of a promised multiday blitz of internal company documents, a stunt he pumped up to his 120 million followers — starting with the backstory on the company’s late-2020 decision to block users from sharing coverage of Hunter Biden’s leaked laptop files.  The first episode came on Friday night, in a 40-tweet thread from journalist Matt Taibbi, who had been provided some of the company’s internal files and emails.

Twitter employees’ conversations revealing how Twitter’s former executives were being influenced by outsiders especially politican parties. Musk has shared the the thread of Tweets, originally published by an Independent journalist Matt Taibbi, who first shared on his official Twitter handle. Calling it ‘A Frankensteinian tale of a human-built mechanism grown out of the control of designer’, Matt Taibbi has shared internal sensitive documents revealing the conversation around the cenorship of a story published in the New York Post.

Thread 1: Twitter Files’ was exposing how the executives had started being influenced by the political parties from outside to suppress and remove some sensitive stories on the platform. By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. Morover, thread 9 mentioned that celebrities and unknowns alike could be removed or reviewed at the behest of a political party.

In further tweets, he revealed Twitter had taken steps to suppress the story from the New York Post. It involved removing links and posting warnings calling it ’Unsafe’.  “They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved to for extreme cases, e.g child pornography,” Taibbi said in the tweet thread.

Detailing about the New York published Biden Secret Emails on October 2, 2020, which was based on the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, Matt Taibbi called it Twitter files Part one on how and why Twitter Blocked the Hunter Biden laptop story.

In further tweets, he revealed Twitter had taken steps to suppress the story from the New York Post. It involved removing links and posting warnings calling it ’Unsafe’.  “They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved to for extreme cases, e.g child pornography,” Taibbi said in the tweet thread.

The thread informed that White House spokeswoman Kaleigh McEnany was locked out of her account for tweeting about the story, prompting a furious letter from Trump campaign staffer Mike Hahn, Taibbi said. “It led public p policy executive Caroline Strom to send out a polite WTF query. Several employees noted that there was tension between the comms/policy teams, who had little/less control over moderation, and the safety/trust teams.”

Twitter replied Strom that the laptop story has been removed for violation of the company’s ‘Hacked materials’ policy.  The thread informed that decision 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 even quoted a former employee saying, “They just freelanced it. 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.”

The entire thread also reveals messages/emails from the US politicians concerned about the state of ‘free-speech’ and the kind of authority commanded by ‘big tech’ companies warning that the ‘government may need to intervene.’  Elon Musk shared the entire thread by saying ‘Handled’. He referred to the term used by Twitter employees for removing or suppressing some posts due to outside influence. He said Part 2 of Twitter files will be released tomorrow.

Hunter Biden speaks to guests during an event at the White House. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

Hunter Biden speaks to guests during an event at the White House. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

Just a freewheeling online chat Saturday night that featured a cast of colorful personalities talking about free speech.  The delay offers a window into some of the challenges Musk is facing as he attempts a radical overhaul of the platform he just bought — changing not just the company’s staffing and strategy, but its politics, shifting a largely progressive-leaning platform to one committed to a more libertarian vision of free speech.

Taibbi said Tuesday that complications involving a Twitter lawyer had been holding up the rest of the documents, suggesting the lawyer was working at odds with Musk’s executives. Musk had tweeted 20 minutes earlier that the lawyer had been “exited” from the company.  In an earlier text exchange with POLITICO, Taibbi had pointed to internal conflict — and Twitter’s own corporate culture — as the source of the delay. “The company is used to operating in open defiance of its CEO,” Taibbi said. “Now, most of those higher-ranking people are gone, but this is still a logistical battle more than anything. So if you see delays and other head-scratching things, please keep that in mind.”   didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Some points to take in…

Twitter’s rights as a company

Whilst Twitter has received a lot of criticism for its political bias, it should be flagged that as a company, it is allowed to have bias. Many, including Elon Musk believe that Twitter is a public sphere, in the way Habermas conceptualised the public sphere. Ban on Twitter is equal to ban from the town square so to say. Whilst that may or may not be true, according to American law, Twitter is not a town square but simply a company, it can decide what kinds of tweets it will allow and what kind of tweets it won’t allow. Of courcs, if a consistent pattern is noticed, where it is discriminating against a certain race, group or politcal ideology, people have the option to knock the door of courts.

Sanctity of democracy

What Twitter does not have a right to is colluding with an American political party to suppress speech that is against the interest of that political party. The part 1 of Twitter Files published by Matt Taibii reveals exactly that. In the run up to the 2020 elections, Democrats would send email to Twitter with links of tweets that were against the interest of the Democratic party and Twitter would respond by writing “we’ll handle them”. “Handling” in this context meant suppressing those tweets, deleting them or deleting the account which wrote those tweets. Democrats are avoiding the story and downplaying it. It is crucial to understand what the Twitter Files reveal – an American political party colluded with an American social media firm to suppress information that is against the interest of the political party, just before the 2020 elections. Information for example about actions of the president candidate’s son, which suggest he was using his relationship with his father to sell access. Prevention of dissemination of this news story might have impacted the election results of 2020, according to the Republicans.

Why was a former FBI employee vetting the release of Twitter Files without informing Musk?

All of this information is public now just because of Elon Musk’s decision to release internal documents and communication of Twitter. However, something else has happened. The new files which Musk promised to release are not public yet and the time which Musk gave for their release has long passed. So, what happened? The word “extremely” is often thrown out uselessly but it fits rather aptly in this situation. What happened is extremely important so let’s go over this slowly. The person who was vetting the release of Twitter Files to journalists was Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker.

He was vetting these files to control what kind of information was being made public under the release of Twitter Files, without the knowledge of new management at Twitter. In other words, without the knowledge of Elon Musk. The journalist Bari Weiss, who was following this story along with Matt Taibii, said that her jaw hit the floor when she found that Jim Baker was vetting the release of these documents, without the knowledge of Twitter’s new management. She had to confirm what Jim’s surname is to make sure she was hearing the right thing. Before becoming Twitter Deputy General Counsel, Jim Baker was FBI’s General Counsel.

Jim Baker played a dodgy role as FBI’s General Counsel, he was forced to resign in 2018, during Trump’s presidency, after an investigation into leaks to the press. According to Lee Fang, an investigative journalist at Intercept (Matt Taibii’s previous workplace), Jim Baker, in 2016, passed on fake information from Hilary Clinton’s campaign, claiming that Trump’s organisation was using secret servers to communicate with Russia’s private commercial bank. This story was false. Jim Baker “has been something of a Zelig of FBI controversies dating back to 2016, from the Steele Dossier to the Alfa-Server mess. He resigned in 2018 after an investigation into leaks to the press,” wrote Matt Taibii. Elon Musk said that he found out about Jim Baker vetting the release of Twitter Files just on Sunday. Jim Baker has been fired from Twitter now. As of now, it is not clear what documents Jim Baker decided to not release. There is also a possibility that he might have destroyed some documents. Republicans have won the House as a result of the midterms and they might soon launch a probe into this matter.






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Download PDF Twitter Files Part 1 Summary PDF and here is the PDF source