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Former Twitter 'safety' director admits banning Hunter Biden laptop story was a mistake

"We didn’t know what to believe," he says of story two years later.

Published: November 30, 2022 2:48pm

Updated: November 30, 2022 2:59pm

The former head of Twitter's safety enforcement admitted this week that it was a mistake for the social media giant to censor an explosive story involving Joe Biden and his family just weeks before the 2020 election. 

Yoel Roth, the former Twitter Head of Trust & Safety who resigned following Elon Musk's takeover of the company, spoke to journalist Kara Swisher this week about his time at the company, including the chaotic week in October of 2020 when Twitter moved to broadly censor the sharing of a New York Post report about a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden.

“We didn’t know what to believe, we didn’t know what was true, there was smoke," Roth told Swisher of the story.

"[U]ltimately for me, it didn’t reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter," he said, though he added that the story "set off every single one of my finely tuned APT28 ‘hack and leak campaign’ alarm bells." APT28 is one of the names of a highly active Russian cyber-espionage group. 

Asked directly if it was a mistake to censor the story, Roth replied: "In my opinion, yes." 

Critics have argued that the censoring of the story unfairly benefitted then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in the weeks before the contentious 2020 election. 

Multiple media outlets have since acknowledged the veracity of the data on Hunter Biden's laptop, which was left at a repair store in Wilmington, Delaware. 

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