Jan. 7, 2021: Part IV of Twitter report reveals execs built policy for ‘Trump alone’

by WorldTribune Staff, December 11, 2022

Following the protest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, several voices from the Left, including Michelle Obama and the Anti-Defamation League, pressured then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to remove President Donald Trump from the platform, according to the fourth installation of the Twitter Files, published Saturday by independent author Michael Shellenberger.

Because Dorsey was on vacation, he “delegated much of the handling of the situation” to senior Twitter executives at the time. They were Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former head of legal policy and trust.

On Jan. 7, 2021, the Twitter overlords applied a policy they designed that was intended for “Trump alone,” Shellenberger reported.

Following the events of Jan. 6, Schellenberger noted: “Former First Lady @michelleobama, tech journalist @karaswisher, @ADL, high-tech VC @ChrisSacca, and many others, publicly call on Twitter to permanently ban Trump.”

Twitter leadership said the policy would be “distinct from other political leaders,” and that they expressed “no concern for the free speech or democracy implications of a ban,” the files show.

Shellenberger said Roth was “excited to share” that Dorsey approved a decision for Twitter to introduce a new policy that would allow it to permanently ban users who are considered a “repeat offender for civic integrity.”

“The new approach would create a system where five violations (‘strikes’) would result in permanent suspension,” according to Shellenberger.

Roth had publicly acknowledged his anti-Trump views on Twitter many times. He had posted in 2017 that there were “ACTUAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE,” in reference to President Trump.

On Jan. 8, 2021, Twitter announced a permanent ban on Trump due to the “risk of further incitement of violence.”

Twitter claimed the ban on Trump was based on “specifically how [Trump’s tweets] are being received & interpreted.”

In 2019, Twitter had insisted it did “not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent.”

Shellenberger noted that “Twitter employees recognize the difference between their own politics & Twitter’s Terms of Service (TOS), but they also engage in complex interpretations of content in order to stamp out prohibited tweets, as a series of exchanges over the ‘#stopthesteal’ hashtag reveal.”

Roth messaged a colleague to ask that they add “stopthesteal” & [QAnon conspiracy term] “kraken” to a blacklist of terms to be deamplified.

Roth’s colleague objects that blacklisting “stopthesteal” risks “deamplifying counterspeech” that validates the election.

In Part 3 of the Twitter files, journalist Matt Taibbi documentrd how senior Twitter executives censored tweets by Trump in the run-up to the November 2020 election while regularly engaging with representatives of U.S. government law enforcement agencies.


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