Twitter owner Elon Musk released bombshell revelations about what led the tech giant to suppress the Hunter Biden story in the final weeks of the 2020 presidential election.
After a lengthy delay, Musk outsourced his findings to Substack journalist Matt Taibbi, who published a lengthy thread about what had transpired behind the scenes at Twitter.
"Some of the first tools for controlling speech were designed to combat the likes of spam and financial fraudsters. Slowly, over time, Twitter staff and executives began to find more and more uses for these tools. Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well: first a little, then more often, then constantly," Taibbi wrote. "By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: ‘More to review from the Biden team.’ The reply would come back: 'Handled.'"
Taibbi shared a screenshot of that October 2020 exchange featuring links to tweets Biden's team allegedly wanted taken down.
"Both parties had access to these tools. For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored. However… This system wasn't balanced," Taibbi wrote. "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."
"The resulting slant in content moderation decisions is visible in the documents you’re about to read. However, it’s also the assessment of multiple current and former high-level executives," the journalist teased.
He then quickly pivoted to the "Twitter Files" regarding the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Taibbi tweeted "there’s no evidence - that I've seen" that the federal government had a role in suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story but that "the decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role."
"'They just freelanced it,' is how one former employee characterized the decision. ‘Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it,’" Taibbi wrote.
Taibbi then shared a screenshot of an exchange between Gadde, Twitter's former Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth and Twitter spokesman Trenton Kennedy, who wrote "I'm struggling to understand the policy basis for marking this as unsafe."
"Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?" Twitter's former VP of Global Comms Brandon Borrman similarly asked at the time, according to a separate screenshot shared by Taibbi.
Twitter's former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker replied, "I support the conclusion that we need more facts to assess whether the materials were hacked" but added "it's reasonable for us to assume that they may have been and that caution is warranted."
Taibbi then revealed that Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna reached out to Gadde about the "backlash re speech," noting that Khanna "was the only Democratic official I could find in the files who expressed concern."
Gadde responded to the California lawmaker by "diving into the weeds" of Twitter's policy, but Khanna warned Gadde "this seems [to be] a violation of the 1st Amendment principles."
"I say this as a total Biden partisan and convinced that he didn't do anything wrong. But the story now has become more about censorship than relatively innocuous emails and it's becoming a bigger deal than it would have been," Khanna wrote.
Musk had been vocal about being transparent when it comes to Twitter's past and present actions it takes when it comes to curating content on the platform, including censored content.
Twitter famously blocked its uses from sharing the New York Post's reporting of Hunter Biden's laptop in tweets and in direct messages.
At the time, Twitter Safety alleged that the articles were in violation of its "hacked materials policy." Twitter's then-CEO Jack Dorsey admitted his companies actions were a mistake.
Many critics believe the suppression of the Hunter Biden scandal by Big Tech and the media at large was enough to sway the election in favor of his father.
This article will be updated as this story develops.