Elon Musk has exposed the role his newly acquired company Twitter played in suppressing a damning corruption news report about Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, in the run up to the 2020 election where his father emerged the U.S. president.
Earlier in the week, Mr Musk had tweeted a teaser: “The Twitter Files on free speech suppression soon to be published on Twitter itself.” He asserted that the “public deserves to know what really happened.”
On Friday evening, author and Substack writer Matt Taibbi wrote a lengthy thread of tweets titled “The Twitter Files” in which he described the measures Twitter had taken to ensure that a devastating corruption expose by the New York Post was banned on the platform.
Mr Musk retweeted Mr Taibbi’s thread of tweets, which he said, was the first in the series that showed how Twitter had been suppressing freedom of speech before he purchased the network.
Mr Taibbi disclosed some high ranking Twitter staff, without the knowledge of then-CEO, Jack Dorsey, labelled the report as “hacked material” and blocked access to it for users.
“Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be “unsafe.” They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography,” tweeted Mr Taibbi.
The news medium reported that a laptop owned by Hunter Biden, the president’s son, contained evidence that he had inappropriately tried to set up a meeting between Ukrainian client, Vadym Pozharskyi, and his father who was serving as vice president at the time, in order to leverage his influence to the advantage of the energy firm in Ukraine.
It was said that former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde played “a key role” in stopping the report from being shared and accessed on the platform.
Although the conspirators initially blamed the suppression on “hacking”, saying it was against Twitter policies to disseminate “hacked materials,” Mr Taibbi wrote “no one had the guts to reverse it” after they realised the hacking excuse would not suffice.
The exposure has stirred various reactions from Twitter users, while some knocked Mr Musk for exposing internal communications of staff, others praised him for standing up to the platform’s attempt to censor free speech.