The Twitter Files Part V: Chinese Employee Warned Co-Workers Against Censoring Trump
Former U.S. President Donald Trump leaves Trump Tower to meet with New York Attorney General Letitia James for a civil investigation on August 10, 2022 in New York City.
(Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)

The fifth installment of “The Twitter Files” focused on the actions inside of Twitter following the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol that ultimately resulted in former President Donald Trump being banned from the platform.

Journalist Bari Weiss highlighted the two tweets that the president posted that day before getting banned:

The report noted that the company had resisted calls for years from internal and external sources to ban the president because Trump was an important part of the public conversation. Employees at the company note that they have “far stricter rules on effectively everyone else on the platform.”

As conversation grew inside the company, one employee said in the company’s Slack channel, “Maybe because I am from China, I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation.”

The report continued by noting that some inside Twitter viewed Trump’s reference to “American Patriots” as a reference to those who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, many of whom have faced criminal prosecution, while others inside the company did not see Trump’s tweet as a call to incite violence.

Ultimately, officials at the company decided that the two tweets did not explicitly violate any of the company’s policies.

The report noted different world leaders that have explicitly called for violence on their accounts, but did not have their accounts removed:

After Trump’s two tweets were determined to not be a violation of the company’s policies, Vijaya Gadde — Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust — asked if the tweets could be coded in some way.

Twitter’s team then began to see Trump’s mentioning of “American Patriots” as a reference which led them to view Trump as “the leader of a terrorist group.”

Weiss protected the identities of many inside Twitter who contributed to what was happening by blocking their names and account photos from inside the company Slack channel.

Soon-to-be Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said that the company needed to understand the ripple effects from its decision and that “centralized content moderation” had reached “a breaking point.”

The report then noted that numerous global leaders were stunned by the decision to ban Trump and even spoke out against it publicly.

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