The fourth installment of “The Twitter Files” released over the weekend revealed new information about the actions that led up to the platform banning former President Donald Trump following the January 6, 2021, riot in the nation’s capital.
The first several tweets offered no new information and rehashed prior releases from The Twitter Files. The fourth set, released Saturday night, took place over a long-winded four-hour period and resulted in the release receiving the lowest engagement numbers compared to the other three releases.
Even Twitter CEO Elon Musk did not seem overly thrilled by the release as he took 6 hours and 7 minutes to promote it on his Twitter account, a far cry from the other three releases, which he amplified after 10 minutes (Part I), 50 minutes (Part II), and 173 minutes (Part III).
Starting with tweet #7, blogger Michael Shellenberger showed examples of pressure from major outside figures calling on the company to ban the former president. Shellenberger noted in tweets #8 and #9 that then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was on vacation at the time and that “Twitter’s staff & senior execs were overwhelmingly progressive.”
Shellenberger then noted tweets from former Twitter Global Lead of Trust & Safety Yoel Roth that were derogatory towards conservatives, which has been public knowledge for years and has previously been reported on.
The next several tweets showed internal discussions between Roth and other Twitter employees, who Shellenberger shielded by not disclosing their names, that showed Roth and his team were excited about “progress!” that the company was making toward taking action against Trump’s Twitter account.
The next couple of tweets rehashed Twitter’s public statement about why the company ultimately decided to ban the former president. Shellenberger noted that one employee at Twitter was concerned about the ramifications and that the decision could lead to a “slippery slope and reflect an alternatively equally dictatorial problem.”
Screenshots showed that Roth deamplified terms associated with the fringe debunked “QAnon conspiracy,” Shellenberger wrote. However, at least one of the terms was not deamplified because it was associated with other topics unrelated to the conspiracy theory.
Shellenberger shared other screenshots of employees discussing whether to take action against random tweets from small accounts. However, Shellenberger protected those employees by blocking out their names and photos from the screenshots.
The next tweet showed that Roth told a senior executive Dorsey intended for Trump to be banned for “*ANY* policy violation” after the 12-hour suspension was lifted on his account. Roth said that due to the unique circumstances of everything that was happening that Twitter was, in Trump’s case, dropping its “public interest” policy which previously let Trump stay on the platform despite violations because what Trump had to say was deemed to be relevant to public policy. In essence, Twitter altered its processes and rules in real-time to adapt to the situation the company was dealing with.
One piece of information that was not previously known was that Twitter considered banning Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) because of the content he was tweeting at the time.
An unnamed engineer at Twitter told Roth that there was no difference between Trump’s personal account and anyone else’s other than his personal status. However, he said Trump was treated very differently and was routinely allowed to violate platform rules without punishment.
Towards the end of the Twitter thread, Shellenberger noted that the employee who previously spoke against banning Trump believed the public had the perception that “all social media heads and internet moguls at every layer sit around like kings casually deciding what people can and cannot see.” He noted that viewpoint is “unhelpful to the internet ecosystem as a whole.”