A newly released batch of the “Twitter Files” reveals efforts by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to pressure Twitter into censoring accounts that shared media coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop ahead of the 2020 election.
Published by independent reporter Matt Taibbi on Wednesday, the new emails show DNC officials requested Twitter remove accounts that shared a link to a Gateway Pundit story “contain[ing] airbrushed images from Hunter Biden videos, as well as ‘information on how to look up and view the videos in question.'” According to Taibbi, Twitter found this “violative.”
While Taibbi notes that “non-consensual nudity” (NCN) is considered a violation of Twitter rules, internal correspondence among company employees shows how not even Twitter thought many of the tweets flagged by the DNC warranted removal under the rule.
In an email on Oct. 29, 2020, for instance, an unidentified Twitter employee revealed how the DNC sent the company “a number of tweets related to a Hunter Biden story in Gateway Pundit” and had asked them to “review for NCN.” While Twitter’s GETSupport reviewed the flagged posts and “found them non-actionable under NCN,” the tweets were nonetheless referred for a “spam review,” which Taibbi says resulted in “[n]early all those accounts [being] suspended shortly after.”
A separate letter from a senior Twitter attorney documents the seemingly cozy relationship between Twitter and the DNC. Under a section titled, “Elections,” the attorney wrote that he or she “continue[s] to work with the DNC on high-profile escalations including parody accounts, whitelisting URLs,” and posts partaking in so-called “voter suppression.” Notably, the letter — which also listed Twitter partnerships with House and Senate Committees, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and other federal entities — does not include a “corresponding notation” for the Republican National Committee.
The RNC did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment on whether it was engaged in similar activity with Twitter or other Big Tech platforms ahead of the 2020 election.
The notation regarding Twitter’s partnerships with federal agencies is notable considering the recent court ruling that essentially confirmed the Biden administration has been colluding with Big Tech to censor Americans exercising their constitutional rights. As The Federalist’s Jordan Boyd reported, in Missouri v. Biden, Judge Terry Doughty issued a preliminary injunction that says departments such as the FBI, DHS, and other agencies cannot “coordinate with or ‘coerce’ platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google to silence their political enemies.”
“Although this case is still relatively young, and at this stage the Court is only examining it in terms of Plaintiffs’ likelihood of success on the merits, the evidence produced thus far depicts an almost dystopian scenario,” Doughty wrote. A motion to stay filed by the Biden administration has since been dismissed by the court.
Collusion between Big Tech companies and the federal government to censor information regarding Hunter Biden’s laptop is nothing new. In the months leading up to the 2020 election, the FBI — which had authenticated the laptop as early as November 2019 — was issuing warnings to Twitter and Facebook to be on the lookout for “Russian propaganda” and “hack-and-leak operations” by state actors.
After the New York Post dropped its bombshell story on the laptop weeks before the 2020 contest, both companies went out of their way to censor the story and prevent its reach. On Twitter, users were not permitted to share the story, even via direct message. The platform further removed links and posted warnings that it may be “unsafe.” Meanwhile, Facebook announced shortly after the story broke that it would be “reducing [the story’s] distribution” pending verification by third-party “fact-checkers.”