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Recently, Twitter has been in the spotlight due to a variety of reasons. One major reason is Elon Musk's new ownership of the social media platform.
For instance, the new CEO has stated his opposition to government bullying of social media platforms like Twitter. Yet he's failing to publish any transparency reports regarding what governments are demanding of Twitter.
Thursday marked the latest development in the ongoing battle over what can and cannot be said on Twitter since billionaire Elon Musk took control of it. Accounts belonging to journalists from The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Voice of America were suspended following the release of internal documents -- known as "Twitter Files" -- by a select group of journalists that detail discussions around content moderation decisions at the social media company prior to Musk's takeover.
These documents reveal the company's close collaboration with the FBI and other US law enforcement agencies regarding election misinformation shared on Twitter. Furthermore, some Twitter employees were sent emails from federal law enforcement to alert them of accounts they believed violated the platform's rules.
Although these revelations provide a more detailed account of what was going on behind the scenes at Twitter, they do not significantly alter the narrative. The company's decision to block The New York Post from reporting on hacked information from former Vice President Hunter Biden had already become widely publicized and widely reported upon at that time.
Twitter's controversial decision sparked a fierce backlash from people on both sides of the political spectrum, leading to swift changes to its policies and procedures. It's a tale that has been recounted numerous times by both company executives and journalists alike; Musk now provides additional details into their scrambling to decide what action should be taken.
However, these revelations are limited compared to what we know about Twitter's content moderation practices. And while they offer an intriguing glimpse into the company's inner workings, there remain unanswered questions that need answering.
Twitter Files reveal that the social media company was frequently pressured into suspending accounts by government agencies. In some cases, these demands proved too great for their staff members to ignore and they ultimately had no choice but to ask how best to handle them.
Documents show how Twitter executives struggled to abide by its complex policies in difficult circumstances. For instance, several conservative figures were prevented from sharing their opinions on the platform even when they did not break any Twitter rules.
Another example illustrates how Twitter censored accounts of prominent public doctors who had expressed opposition to vaccines during the spring and summer of 2020.
Twitter had suspended several doctors for posting anti-vaccine content in an effort to discredit their work and undermine the credibility of their assertions.
This document indicates that Twitter's efforts to suppress anti-vaccine activity began after Joe Biden's administration ordered executives at the company to suppress information which was accurate but "inconvenient" for vaccine opponents.
In the months before the 2020 election, government demands for censorship reached their zenith when Yoel Roth, Twitter's Head of Trust and Safety, met with them. As a result, Twitter's rules-based content moderation policy began to crumble.
Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla, has been sharing an array of internal documents he discovered while at Twitter. These are known as the Twitter Files and have been released so far in five installments covering content moderation issues.
They've ignited a debate over how to handle censorship and blacklisting of accounts, as well as calls for Twitter accountability and congressional investigation. Furthermore, these documents reveal that Twitter was in contact with government agencies and the FBI regularly held meetings with executives from their company asking them to take action against misinformation.
Mark Taibbi of The Twitter Files examined a decision to block a New York Post story in October 2020 that relied on material recovered from Hunter Biden's laptop. Twitter froze their account for 16 days and claimed that posting such material violated their policy against posting hacked materials.
But in The Twitter Files, executives struggle to make an appropriate decision in difficult circumstances. We see them trying to de-amplify conservative voices, deplatform Donald Trump and limit access to right-wing accounts - including those that have repeatedly violated company policies - by deactivating them.
Twitter executives often struggle with applying its complex policies in uncertain or controversial situations, such as when news stories surface about material that may or may not have been stolen from a politician's laptop. We also witness them grappling with how best to handle controversial subjects like COVID-19 vaccine that's being debated on Twitter.
If you believe your account has been suspended or restricted due to abuse, don't be afraid to reach out and inform Twitter of the issue. Doing so will allow them to make an informed decision about your account. Furthermore, familiarizing yourself with Twitter's policies will help prevent future offensive behavior from occurring.
The latest edition of Twitter Files highlights several accounts that were suspended for hateful behavior. These include Libs on TikTok, which boasts over 1.4 million followers and is operated by Chaya Raichik since November 2020.
According to The Twitter Files, Raichik has been suspended numerous times for hateful conduct. This includes posts regarding child exploitation and suicide as well as labelling a transgender athlete a "woman."
These are examples of the type of content Twitter modifies, and does so to protect its users.
Some accounts have been suspended for months, while others have been prohibited for one or more years.
There is currently no indication why these suspensions occurred, though it could have been caused by bots or automated accounts. If you believe your account was suspended due to bot activity, follow these instructions for verifying your identity with ReCaptcha in order to unlock it.
In other cases, you might have violated a rule recently changed or removed by Twitter. If unsure of the current regulations, reach out to them to explain what went wrong and why.
Although some of this information may be difficult to comprehend, it's essential that you do. Let Twitter know of any modifications made and be as courteous as possible so they will grant your account back.
Recently released documents, known as the Twitter Files, reveal that the social media company censored content that didn't fit their narrative. These revelations come at a time when Elon Musk is working hard to make Twitter into an oasis for free speech on the platform.
Though the files reveal some troubling practices, they don't indicate government agencies or powerful corporations were complicit. Instead, they show Twitter was under intense pressure from both Republicans and Democrats to suppress certain stories and opinions.
For example, one of the earliest episodes of Twitter Files revealed an internal debate regarding their decision to block a story about Hunter Biden before the 2020 election. This story had been based on materials found on Biden's laptop and was seen by many as an attempt to undermine the former vice president.
Taibbi reported that Twitter executives were uncertain about the story and even agreed to change their policy that day, according to her report. Furthermore, she revealed that Jack Dorsey - then-CEO of Twitter - expressed regret over the decision not to block it.
Documents obtained by the company revealed that Andrew Bostom, a Rhode Island physician, had been permanently suspended after tweeting about a peer-reviewed study on mRNA vaccines linking them to reduced flu symptoms among children. Twitter deemed his tweet an infraction of their policies due to its deviation from public health guidelines.
Documents show Twitter suspended accounts of individuals who disagreed with the public health consensus regarding Covid-19, a vaccine for influenza. Dr. Martin Kulldorff, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, was among those whose accounts were suspended.
These are just a few examples of how governments and corporations have been manipulating social media platforms for years. To regain public trust, we need to be able to see more data behind these decisions and comprehend how the algorithms behind these filtrations function.