The fourth installment of writer Michael Shellenberger’s “Twitter Files” series was released Saturday night, describing how Twitter executives bent the platform’s regulations in order to blacklist former Pres. Donald Trump on Jan. 7, 2020.
In a recent thread, reporter Michael Shellenberger detailed the fourth installment of the “Twitter Files” series, documenting the internal workings of Twitter and interactions between officials prior to former President Donald Trump’s ban.
According to Shellenberger, following the events at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, Twitter was under enormous pressure to remove former President Trump, with many stating that they needed to block Trump for safety purposes. Throughout this time, then-CEO Jack Dorsey was on vacationing and seemed to leave most of the judgement calls to other top officials, including Global Head of Safety and Trust Yoel Roth and the site’s censorship queen, Vijaya Gadde.
On Jan. 7, Dorsey wrote to staff, emphasizing that the company’s standards must be consistent, including letting people return to the site after temporary suspensions. “People who care about this… are not really content with where we are,” Roth assured an employee.
Roth later said to his DM’d coworkers, “GUESS WHAT. Just now, Jack approved a repeat criminal for civic integrity.” This would enable Twitter to implement a system in which five rule breaches would cause a permanent suspension.
Colleagues continued to question Roth about “encouragement to violence,” and Twitter declared a permanent ban on Trump’s account on Jan. 8 owing to the “potential of additional incitement of violence.” Twitter said the restriction was based on “particularly how Trump’s tweets are being perceived and understood,” but Shellenberger points out that Twitter said in 2019 that it “didn’t even attempt to assess all possible interpretations of the material or its meaning.”
In another thread, Roth requests that “stopthesteal” and “Kraken” be added to a blacklist of terms that should not be amplified. The colleague opposes, citing the potential of “deamplifying counterspeech” that verified the 2020 election outcome.
The most recent Twitter Files release appears to reveal Roth and other Twitter workers trying to justify Trump’s ban and attempting to figure out how current policy might be implemented in a way that might explain the permanent suspension.
Shellenberger concludes the thread by stating that Facebook’s banning of former President Trump, as well as its willingness to disregard its own regulations, has effectively killed Trump’s return to Twitter.