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The Twitter Files: Elon Musk reveals internal documents on Hunter Biden’s laptop

The first in a series of investigative reports sees Matt Taibbi given access to a controversial content moderation decision from 2020.

Elon Musk ha roto el silencio para responder a los abucheos en su contra durante un show de Dave Chappelle en San Francisco. Te compartimos los detalles.

Elon Musk’s stewardship of Twitter has not been short of spectacle and he took things a step further on Friday, launching ‘The Twitter Files’ exposé that took aim at the previous management.

In what appears to be the first of a series of presentations Musk highlighted a lengthy twitter thread posted by investigative journalist Matt Taibbi. What made it so unexpected was that Taibbi was highlighting a series of institutional failures and alleged political favouritism at Twitter, doing so after receiving access to internal twitter communications.

Shortly before the 2020 presidential election the New York Post ran a story on the infamous laptop owned by Hunter Biden. The Post claimed that the laptop’s contents showed that in 2015 Hunter had tried to arrange a meeting between his father, Joe Biden, and a Ukrainian businessman. Biden Snr was serving as Vice President at the time.

Taibbi’s reporting claims that Twitter blocked the distribution of the Post’s Hunter Biden story in a way that contravened the site’s stated content moderation policy. After two days Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reversed the decision to censor the article and issued a public apology.

What does the The Twitter Files reporting mean?

The reporting shared via a 37-tweet thread by Taibbi certainly delves deep into the internal content moderation processes at Twitter in 2020. Key to the story is the claim that the Post’s story may have been based on access to hacked – i.e. illegally obtained – information, and thus should not be amplified on the site.

However in a series of screenshots from internal Twitter communications, employees involved in the content moderation process can be seen to grow uncertain about the decision.

At one point Brandon Borrman, former VP of Global Communications asks: “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?” In response, Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker insists that “caution is warranted,” essentially arguing that the story should remain blocked.

Within 48 hours the story was made freely available and all content moderation practices removed. However the decision-making process that saw a potentially key piece of information restricted in the build-up to the election is certainly in the spotlight.

What next for the Twitter Files?

Shortly after Taibbi’s reporting was posted, Musk sent out another tweet, encouraging users to “Tune in for Episode 2 of The Twitter Files tomorrow!”

So what does this mean in the context of Musk’s long-term plan for Twitter? It seems that the Twitter Files satisfy two key goals that Musk may have in mind to bring about the change he wants.

Firstly, it allowed him to portray himself as the “free speech absolutist” that he has previously claimed to be. Since taking over he has already undone many of the content moderation practices and decisions made by the previous regime and his willingness to hand over internal communications highlights his commitment to the idea.

But The Twitter Files also served to aid a more immediate priority for Musk. He needs to boost the company’s profitability and the report from Taibbi did manage to spark greater engagement on Twitter and more interest in the platform itself. It is certainly notable that the story was broken in a series of tweets, retweeted by Musk himself, rather than in an in-depth article for a major publication.

Since taking over Musk has brought greater spectacle to Twitter, and is now taking a swing at the former management and their decision-making in the process.


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