Internal Docs Show Single Twitter Employee Called Ban On Trump A ‘Slippery Slope’ That’s ‘Unsustainable’

(Liberty Bell) – As many of the executives working for Twitter looked for ways they could justify slapping then-President Donald Trump with a ban in the aftermath of the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021, there was only one brave, bold employee who shared “serious” concerns about what kind of impact making such a move might have on the free speech of users, as per information published on Twitter by author Michael Shellenberger on Friday, citing as his source the internal documents that have been provided by the platform’s new CEO Elon Musk.

John Hugh Demastri of the Daily Caller writes, “The employee, a junior staffer, posted a message in a lower-level channel on the company’s internal Slack messaging system, questioning the ‘one off’ nature of the decision, which did not appear to match with Twitter’s public policies, according to Shellenberger. Twitter employees usually considered moderation decisions to be ‘one off’ events when they were made at the discretion of Twitter employees, as opposed to following a particular policy, Shellenberger reported.”

“This might be an unpopular opinion but one off ad hoc decisions like this that don’t appear rooted in policy are [in my opinion] a slippery slope and reflect an alternatively equally dictatorial problem,” the unnamed staffer went on to write. “This now appears to be a fiat by an online platform CEO with a global presence that can gatekeep speech for the entire world – which seems unsustainable.”

About 40 minutes after the junior staffer shared their concerns, they then sent out a follow-up message that cited an article from the Washington Post’s Will Oremus, who was at that time writing for the publication OneZero, which pointed out that Facebook’s decision to give Trump a permanent ban “lacks a clear basis in any of Facebook’s previously stated policies, highlights for the millionth time that the dominant platforms are quite literally making up the rules of online speech as they go along.”

“My concern is specifically surrounding the unarticulated logic of the decision by FB,” the staffer continued, according to Shellenberger. “That space fills with the idea (conspiracy theory?) that all … internet moguls … sit around like kings casually deciding what people can and cannot see.”

While many of the employees who previously worked at the company were debating on banning the former president, Jack Dorsey, who was CEO at the time, was enjoying a vacation in the French Polynesia, delegating a tremendous amount of the company’s actions to Yoel Roth, who was the head of Trust and Safety for the social media platform, and former head of Legal, Policy, and Trust Vijaya Gadde. The former CEO sent out an email to staffers on Jan. 7 informing the employees that the company needed to maintain consistent moderation policies.

“Jack’s emails have been _fine_… but ultimately, I think people want to hear from Vijaya, or Del, or someone closer to the specifics of this who can reassure them that the people who care about this are thinking deeply about these problems and aren’t happy with where we are,” Roth said in a message to an unidentified employee, according to Shellenberger’s tweet thread. “A few engineers have reached out to me directly about it, and I’m chatting with them… but it’s so clear that they just want to know that _someone_ is doing something about this, and it’s not that we’re ignoring the issues here.”

This unnamed employee sent a response to Roth saying that some of the folks who work for the company may not understand that “while it seems obvious and simple that we ‘should’ [permanently ban] his personal account,” Twitter would then have to wrestle around with the possibility of banning the official government account of Trump as well, which was a decision that required “thinking things through.”

“While the company had faced pressure to block or ban Trump in the past, it typically resisted those calls; the company’s Public Policy team posted a tweet in 2018 which argued banning world leaders for ‘controversial Tweets would hide important information people should be able to see and debate,’ and would limit discussion of that leader without meaningfully silencing them,” Shellenberger reported.

How sad is it that there was only one employee who stood up for freedom of speech during that whole fiasco? Clearly, those in charge at Twitter spent considerable time making sure the vast majority of those who were employed by the company walked in groupthink with the progressive message. Otherwise, there would have been a lot more resistance to the idea of banning a president due to the actions of a few individuals.

Copyright 2022.


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