Deplatforming of Trump sparked internal dissent, new 'Twitter Files' show
Twitter's safety team decided that two of Trump's tweets on Jan. 6 did not violate the platform's rules.
Twitter's decision to ban President Trump from the site in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot sparked internal dissent, according to new "Twitter Files" published Monday.
Twitter had resisted calls to block Trump until the riot, which Trump critics argue he sparked, at least in part, with his speech during a rally earlier that day.
The fifth installment of the files released Monday was handled by journalist Bari Weiss. The files have been released over the course of roughly two weeks and follow Twitter having been bought by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
"Maybe because I am from China, I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation," one employee said on Jan. 7, 2021, according to newly published internal messages.
Another employee responded: "It's important to understand that censorship ... by a government ... is very different than censorship ... of the government."
Overall, most Twitter employees felt that Trump should have been removed from the platform earlier.
Although Twitter's safety team decided that two of Trump's tweets after Jan. 6 did not violate the platform's rules, he was still banned.
Trump had one remaining Twitter strike on Jan. 8, 2021, before facing the risk of being permanently suspended from the platform.
That day, he posted: "The 75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me, AMERICA FIRST, and MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, will have a GIANT VOICE long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!"
He shortly followed up with: "To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th."
Twitter’s former head of Legal, Policy, and Trust, Vijaya Gadde, admitted in messages published by Weiss that Trump's "American Patriots" post "isn't a rule violation on its face" but said it "is being used as coded incitement to further violence."
Members of Twitter's "scaled enforcement team" reviewed Trump's Jan. 8 tweet and started to "view him as the leader of a terrorist group responsible for violence/deaths comparable to Christchurch shooter or Hitler," messages show.
Many Twitter employees celebrated Trump's suspension, which was condemned by world leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron and German Prime Minister Angela Merkel.
The platform still has not taken action to ban dictators such as Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose tweet calling Israel a "malignant cancerous tumor ... that has to be removed and eradicated" is still on the platform.
Publication of the Twitter Files began earlier this month when reporter Matt Taibbi revealed the platform's efforts to suppress the New York Post's story on Hunter Biden, then-candidate Joe Biden's son, in 2020.