Twitter censored tweets in 2020 at request of Trump and Biden
And, of course, Elon Musk had to make it about him somehow.
During the 2020 presidential campaign, Twitter reportedly granted several requests from both the Trump administration and the Biden campaign to remove certain content from the platform.
A recent thread aptly named ‘The Twitter Files’ from journalist and author Matt Taibbi gave us a unique look at some of Twitter’s moderation practices.
The majority of the thread deals with Twitter’s suppression of a New York Post report about Hunter Biden’s laptop back in 2020.
However, the thread also looked at how Twitter had granted many requests from both parties to remove certain content during the election race.
According to Taibbi, it was “routine” for Twitter to receive requests for removal from both parties:
“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,” reads a tweet from Taibbi’s thread.
Taibbi shared an email between the Biden campaign team and a Twitter staffer. In the email, the Biden team requested that Twitter ‘review’ five different tweets.
The Twitter staffer responded that they had “handled these,” and the tweets are no longer on the platform.
Elon Musk cries ‘First Amendment’
Then, of course, Elon Musk had to chime in. The new billionaire owner of Twitter responded to the thread, saying, “IF this isn’t a violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment, what is?”
Of course, most normal people know by now that Twitter doesn’t have to abide by the First Amendment. The First Amendment forbids the government from restricting free speech, not private companies.
Now, if the Trump administration, which was the only government entity in this entire ordeal, tried to order Twitter to remove content, then that would be a violation of the First Amendment.
But, from what we’ve seen, that’s not the case. Instead, both parties seemingly pointed out tweets they’d like Twitter to look at. After that, it was up to Twitter whether or not it removed that content.
At the end of the day, Twitter is a private company that can moderate its platform in any way it sees fit. If that means suppressing content because a political figure asked it to, so be it.
It’s up to the user to decide if they’re okay with how the platform is moderated.
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