(LifeSiteNews) — Since December 2022, new Twitter owner Elon Musk has been giving selected journalists access to the internal communications of Twitter from the past few years. They have revealed widespread collusion between Twitter executives and Democrats, intelligence agencies, and other government institutions, as well as the obvious bias against conservatives of most Twitter employees.
This article intends to summarize the most important information that has been revealed through the Twitter Files so far. It deals with the following major issues:
- Censoring conservatives
- The Hunter Biden laptop story
- The banning of Donald Trump
- Twitter censoring true information about COVID shots and policy
- The FBI and government colluding with Twitter
- The media and government response
1. Censoring conservatives
The first batch of the Twitter Files was published by independent journalist Matt Taibbi. It revealed that Twitter was censoring conservatives on behalf of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden.
“By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine,” Taibbi wrote. “One executive would write to another: ‘More to review from the Biden team.’ The reply would come back: ‘Handled,’” Taibbi wrote. “Celebrities and unknowns alike could be removed or reviewed at the behest of a political party,” Taibbi continued, adding that while both Republicans and Democrats “had access to these tools” (he said that “in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored”) the “system wasn’t balanced.”
“It was based on contacts. Because Twitter was and is overwhelmingly staffed by people of one political orientation, there were more channels, more ways to complain, open to the left (well, Democrats) than the right,” Taibbi said, confirming conservatives’ longtime contention that right-wing voices and entities are more regularly targeted on social media than their left-wing counterparts.
Moreover, an installment of the Twitter Files published by journalist Bari Weiss confirmed another suspicion of conservatives, namely that Twitter was “shadow banning” certain accounts.
Among the most prominent accounts that were “blacklisted” – meaning that their reach was reduced without them knowing about it – was that of Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, co-author of the Great Barrington Declaration against the draconian COVID lockdowns. The two major conservative figures Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk were also blacklisted. These revelations stand in contradiction to statements made by former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who testified to Congress in 2018 that “political viewpoints” were not considered by Twitter.
In addition, Twitter’s Vijaya Gadde (then Head of Legal Policy and Trust) and Kayvon Beykpour (Head of Product) said in 2018: “We do not shadow ban.” They added: “And we certainly don’t shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology.”
2. The Hunter Biden laptop story
On October 14, 2020, three weeks before the presidential election, Twitter censored the New York Post’s blockbuster story about the scandalous contents of a laptop belonging to Joe Biden’s son Hunter. The Twitter Files revealed that the FBI was working behind the scenes to prime Twitter executives to censor the factually accurate report.
“Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be ‘unsafe,’” Taibbi wrote. “They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography.”
Initially, Twitter blocked the New York Post’s report for allegedly violating the platform’s “hacked materials” policy. However, that story quickly crumbled.
“Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold,” one former Twitter employee said, according to Taibbi. “But no one had the guts to reverse it.”
It was also revealed that the FBI played a major role in Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
In a later installment of the Twitter Files, Michael Shellenberger showed that the FBI “repeatedly primed head of Trust & Safety team Yoel Roth to dismiss reports of Hunter Biden’s laptop as a Russian ‘hack and leak’ operation” and “Russian propaganda.”
Roth, a homosexual who has voiced support of minors using homosexual sex apps, revealed in a sworn declaration that the FBI specifically warned him about a potential “hack-and-leak operation” involving Hunter Biden, likely occurring in October 2020.
The FBI was purposefully deceiving Roth. The agency knew that the Hunter Biden laptop story was factually accurate because it seized the infamous laptop from a Delaware store owner back in December 2019, as Shellenberger reported.
Shellenberger said that former FBI lawyer James “Jim” Baker, who “repeatedly [and wrongly] insists that the Hunter Biden materials were either faked, hacked, or both,” even sent an email to the FBI in December 2020, thanking it for its work.
Baker, who served as general counsel for the FBI until 2018, was Twitter’s deputy general counsel until the end of 2022. He acted as the main inside man from the FBI at Twitter, pushing the agency’s desired narratives at Twitter.
You can read more on Jim Baker in section 5. The FBI and government colluding with Twitter.
3. The banning of Donald Trump
Twitter changed its own policy in order to justify banning the sitting U.S. president from its platform, in one of the most scandalous censorship decisions in the era of social media. The Twitter Files revealed how severely biased left-wing activists inside the Big Tech corporation led to Trump’s permanent suspension from the platform.
Twitter determined that Trump’s tweets after the events of January 6, 2021, did not incite violence, but decided to ban the sitting president anyway because of internal and public pressure.
Taibbi described how Twitter’s “content moderation” became more restrictive in the months leading up to the 2020 election and January 6.
On October 8, 2020, an internal channel was opened that “would be home for discussions about election-related removals, especially ones that involved ‘high-profile’ accounts (often called ‘VITs’ or ‘Very Important Tweeters’).”
Shortly after the creation of this channel, on October 14, 2020, Twitter banned the New York Post’s report on the infamous Hunter Biden laptop, which likely changed the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
Taibbi explained how senior policy executives such as Roth and Gadde became a “high-speed Supreme Court of moderation, issuing content rulings on the fly, often in minutes and based on guesses, gut calls, even Google searches, even in cases involving the President.”
During this time, Twitter executives also had frequent meetings with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
Taibbi lays out a case in which the FBI flagged a tweet by a former Republican elected official named John Basham, who warned about the error rate of mail-in ballots. After reviewing the tweet, Twitter decided to put a “Learn how voting is safe and secure” label underneath the post.
Taibbi and other Twitter filers did not see any moderation request from the Trump campaign during this time.
In order to ban Trump, Twitter had to go against its “public interest” policy. This policy states that the content posted by elected officials is not to be censored “if it directly contributes to understanding or discussion of a matter of public concern,” even if it violates Twitter policy.
On January 7, 2021, one day before Trump got permanently suspended, Twitter executive Yoel Roth justified the decision to change the public interest policy for Trump by stating that “policy is one part of the system of how Twitter works […] we ran into the world changing faster than we were able to either adapt the product or the policy.”
It is noteworthy that, as Bari Weiss pointed out, Twitter did not ban any other heads of state or political leaders, even when they directly incited violence.
On the following day, January 8, many Twitter employees organized to demand the permanent suspension of Trump.
Even though Twitter executives had determined that Trump’s last two tweets had not incited violence, not even in a “coded” way, employees put pressure on the platform’s management to ban Trump anyway.
Roth said that many Twitter employees “have quoted the Banality of Evil suggesting that people implementing our policies are like Nazis following orders,” according to a screenshot of his message.
Shortly after that, Twitter announced “Trump’s permanent suspension ‘due to the risk of further incitement of violence,’” Weiss reported.
4. Twitter censored true information about COVID, jabs
Members of the Biden administration targeted “anti-vaxxer accounts,” according to a Twitter Files report by David Zweig. One of these so-called “anti-vaxxers” was former New York Times journalist Alex Berenson.
In the summer of 2021, wrote Zweig, Biden said that social media companies were “killing people” by allowing unfavorable vaccine information.
Twitter suspended Berenson within hours of Biden’s remarks and subsequently permanently banned him. Berenson sued Twitter and, as part of an eventual settlement, Twitter “was compelled to release certain internal communications, which showed direct White House pressure on the company to take action on Berenson.”
Pfizer board member and FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb played a major role in getting Twitter to ban Berenson.
Gottlieb was FDA commissioner from 2017 and 2019 before joining the Pfizer board in 2019. The close connections between officials of the government institution that is supposed to regulate and scrutinize pharmaceutical products and the producer of drugs, such as the mRNA vaccine, smell of potential collusion.
Moreover, Gottlieb showed that he puts the interest of Pfizer over the truth, as he petitioned Twitter to censor accurate information about COVID jabs “because it could raise questions about the [COVID] shots,” and would therefore hurt Pfizer’s bottom line.
Gottlieb convinced Twitter to censor a tweet by Dr. Brett Giroir, who also briefly served as the head of the FDA in 2019, for saying that “natural immunity is superior to #vaccine immunity,” a fact that has since been confirmed in many studies.
Furthermore, a tweet by Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Dr. Martin Kulldorff was labeled as “misleading,” shutting off replies and likes, for saying that mainly older people and not young people and children need the vaccine, which contradicted the CDC recommendation at the time.
One especially grotesque example of Twitter censoring true information is the following exchange:
27. Tellingly, the tweet by @KelleyKga that was labeled “Misleading” was a reply to a tweet that contained actual misinformation.
Covid has never been the leading cause of death from disease in children. Yet that tweet remains on the platform, and without a “misleading” label. pic.twitter.com/vK5NpWg8KT
— David Zweig (@davidzweig) December 26, 2022
While a tweet that wrongly claimed that “Since December of 2021 COVID has been the leading cause of death from disease in children” was not flagged, the response that contained correct information (even citing CDC data) was labeled as “misleading,” because it went against the mainstream COVID narrative.
Additionally, it was revealed that a government-funded Stanford University initiative called “The Virality Project” flagged admittedly “true” information regarding the experimental COVID-19 vaccines as part of its fight against “disinformation.” This included people’s personal stories of vaccine side effects.
The Virality Project also determined that posts that were critical of “vaccine passports” were “misinformation,” justifying the classification by saying that those who oppose discrimination based on vaccine status “have driven a larger anti-vaccination narrative about the loss of rights and freedoms.”
In January 2023, Elon Musk called for the prosecution of COVID czar Anthony Fauci and teased the release of the “Fauci Files,” which presumably contain incriminating information on the infamous health bureaucrat. But the highly anticipated release of the documents regarding Fauci has been delayed for months now.
5. The FBI and government colluding with Twitter
The Twitter Files revealed not only that executives at the firm were biased against conservatives, but that the FBI and other government agencies were working together with Twitter in their censorship efforts.
In 2020, an FBI agent called Elvis Chan sent Twitter executive lists of accounts to censor, many of them for tweets about potential voter fraud in the upcoming 2020 election. While Twitter executives pushed back sometimes, oftentimes they went on to remove the tweets or accounts that the FBI had flagged.
Taibbi wrote that “Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive as if it were a subsidiary.”
The FBI was not the only government agency involved in the platform’s censorship efforts. Twitter executives, like Roth and Gadde, also had frequent meetings with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
What further highlights the intense collaboration between the FBI and Twitter is the revelation that the FBI paid over $3 million in staff time to Twitter for its frequent censorship requests between 2019 and 2021.
Moreover, many former FBI employees joined Twitter, Shellenberger reported. Next to the FBI’s main inside man Jim Baker, Dawn Burton, “former dep. chief of staff to FBI head James Comey, who initiated the investigation of Trump, joined Twitter in 2019 as director of strategy,” Shellenberger wrote.
Baker, who was the FBI’s general counsel before becoming deputy general counsel of Twitter, was eventually fired by Musk at the end of 2022 after he tried to suppress the publication of the Twitter Files.
In another installment of the Twitter Files, it was revealed that the social media giant helped the Pentagon spread its war propaganda.
In 2017, an official from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), a unified combatant command of the U.S. Department of Defense, “sent Twitter a list of 52 Arab language accounts” that they used “to amplify certain messages,” journalist Lee Fang reported.
These accounts were “white-listed,” meaning that they “are exempt from spam/abuse flags, more visible/likely to trend on hashtags,” and received blue checkmarks after CENTCOM requested this special treatment from Twitter.
The CENTCOM accounts tweeted about U.S. military operations and priorities in the Middle East, including the promotion of the war in Yemen, which is backed by the U.S., anti-Iran messaging, as well as claims of “accurate” drone strikes that allegedly only killed terrorists.
At first, the CENTCOM accounts profiles showed their affiliation with the U.S. Department of Defense. However, those tags were later removed in a shift of strategy, in order to make the accounts appear like genuine people or organizations from the Middle East. One of the accounts “used an apparent deep fake profile pic & claimed to be a source of Iraqi opinion,” according to Fang.
Fang reported that internal Twitter emails revealed that there was another list of “157 undisclosed Pentagon accounts, again mostly focused on Middle East military issues.” Despite Twitter officials knowing about the psychological operations of these U.S. military accounts that go against Twitter’s own rules, some of them were “not suspended until May 2022 or later,” according to Fang.
6. The media and government response
The mainstream media largely either ignored the Twitter Files or tried to downplay their content. NPR wrote that “Elon Musk is using the Twitter Files to discredit foes and push conspiracy theories.”
Another criticism of Musk that some people voiced is that he only gave selected journalists access to the Twitter Files, passing over mainstream media.
The ruling Democrats were seemingly unhappy about the publication of the Twitter Files as well. The Biden administration’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) demanded that Elon Musk provide the government with a list of the journalists who viewed the Twitter Files and explain why he allowed them to access the documents in the first place.
In addition, the FTC reportedly wanted to have access to “[e]very single internal communication ‘relating to Elon Musk,’ by any Twitter personnel – including communications sent or received by Musk – not limited by subject matter, since the day Musk bought the company.”
Coincidentally, Taibbi’s home was reportedly visited by the IRS while he testified before Congress on the Twitter Files. Rep. Jim Jordan (R–OH) called the visit an “attempt to intimidate a witness before Congress.”
Moreover, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, threatened Musk with more censorship after the release of the Twitter Files.
Meanwhile, the FBI tried to downplay its role in Twitter’s censorship, alleging that “[t]he correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our tradition, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries.”
While trying to downplay its role, the FBI also called the Twitter Files “misinformation,” and accused its critics of being “conspiracy theorists” who are “attempting to discredit the agency.”
The Twitter Files revealed that freedom of speech is under attack in the U.S. and globally, and that a dangerous conglomerate of government agencies and big tech corporations are working together to censor voices that challenge the mainstream narrative. In his statement to Congress on the Twitter Files, Shellenberger fittingly referred to this group of entities as the “Censorship Industrial Complex.”