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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Twitter files show staffers pushing ban on Trump based on ‘historical context’

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New Twitter files dump reveals former head of safety Yoel Roth met WEEKLY with FBI – and agency flagged election-related content for moderation

Newly released internal documents suggest that Twitter’s former head of safety Yoel Roth was meeting weekly with the FBI, and show instances of the FBI flagging tweets related to the 2020 election for deletion.  

Journalist Matt Taibbi shared the claims in a new Twitter thread on Friday night, one week after sharing the first tranche of so-called ‘Twitter Files’ turned over by the company’s new owner Elon Musk.

In an undated chat on the messaging app Slack that Taibbi says took place after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, Roth is seen joking about a mysterious meeting on his calendar, saying it is ‘DEFINITELY not a meeting with the FBI I SWEAR’.

Other messages show Roth mentioning a ‘weekly sync with FBI/DHS/DNI’ and a separate mention of ‘a report from the FBI concerning 2 tweets,’ which appeared to relate to false claims about ballot fraud in the 2020 election.  

Newly released internal documents suggest that Twitter’s former head of safety Yoel Roth was meeting weekly with the FBI, and show instances of the FBI flagging tweets for deletion

One exchange shows Roth explaining he will miss 'the FBI and DHS meetings.'

Roth is seen joking about a mysterious meeting on his calendar, saying it is 'DEFINITELY not a meeting with the FBI I SWEAR’

One exchange (left) shows Roth explaining he will miss ‘the FBI and DHS meetings.’ Roth is also seen joking (right) about a mysterious meeting on his calendar, saying it is ‘DEFINITELY not a meeting with the FBI I SWEAR’

One message, apparently from October 2020 following Twitter's two-day ban on a story about Hunter Biden's business dealings, mentions a 'weekly sync with FBI/DHS/DNI'

One message, apparently from October 2020 following Twitter’s two-day ban on a story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings, mentions a ‘weekly sync with FBI/DHS/DNI’

Taibbi said the new release of files was part of a three-part series about the events surrounding then-President Donald Trump‘s ban from Twitter, which Musk lifted last month after buying the company. 

Prior to the ban, days after the Capitol riot, the internal document also show staffers at the company argued that ‘historical context’ and ‘current climate’ should factor into the decision.  

‘The world knows much of the story of what happened between riots at the Capitol on January 6th, and the removal of President Donald Trump from Twitter on January 8th,’ Taibbi wrote.

‘We’ll show you what hasn’t been revealed: the erosion of standards within the company in months before J6, decisions by high-ranking executives to violate their own policies, and more, against the backdrop of ongoing, documented interaction with federal agencies,’ he added.

Staffers at Twitter argued that 'historical context' and 'current climate' should factor into the decision to suspend Trump's account

Staffers at Twitter argued that ‘historical context’ and ‘current climate’ should factor into the decision to suspend Trump’s account

One screenshot showed a Twitter staffer acknowledging the historic nature of Trump's ban

One screenshot showed a Twitter staffer acknowledging the historic nature of Trump’s ban

Taibbi said that his posts on Friday would cover the period between the 2020 election and January 6, to be followed by additional publications of internal Twitter documents by Michael Shellenberger on Saturday and Bari Weiss on Sunday. 

Shellenberger is an author who focuses on contrarian views on climate change, and Weiss is an independent journalist who runs the Substack newsletter Common Sense, which she recently rebranded as The Free Press.

Developing story, more to follow. 

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