Breaking down Elon Musk's Twitter Files

The executive at Twitter who was named for playing a 'key role' in suppressing the Hunter Biden Laptop story is none other than Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde, the former head of Legal, Policy, and Trust who has a history of being accused of censoring conservative voices.

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Who is Vijaya Gadde, the executive behind the censoring of the Hunter Biden Laptop scandal?

Journalist Matt Taibbi released an explosive thread detailing Twitter’s decision to censor the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s abandoned Laptop, which revealed evidence of corruption at the highest levels of government, the highest levels of the FBI, and Big Tech.

Internal emails revealed that the Biden campaign and the DNC colluded with Twitter to censor both information and their political opponents as they were given a direct line of service to Twitter’s team of censors.

The executive at Twitter who was named for playing a “key role” in suppressing the Hunter Biden Laptop story is none other than Twitter’s top lawyer Vijaya Gadde, the former head of Legal, Policy, and Trust who has a history of being accused of censoring conservative voices. 

Earlier this year, the Biden administration appointed Gadde to be on the advisory committee of the Department of Homeland Security’s new Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, otherwise known as the Disinformation Team, which was ultimately disbanded after public outcry.

Gadde’s role on Biden’s disinformation team was to provide advice and recommendations to Homeland Security about how the government could better “combat misinformation and disinformation,” according to the New York Post.

During her time on the committee, she helped draft a report that had similar characteristics to George Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” which demanded the government have a greater role in censoring “social media platforms of all sizes, mainstream media, cable news, hyper-partisan media, talk radio and other online resources.”

Gadde has also been accused by Elon Musk of playing a critical role in Twitter’s decision to ban former President Donald Trump. Her role as Twitter’s top censor reportedly made her $17 million in 2021. So what exactly did the Twitter Files reveal?

Let’s dig in. 

Journalist Matt Taibbi, who obtained exclusive access to Twitter’s internal documents writes, “the Twitter Files tell an incredible story from inside one of the world’s largest and most influential social media platforms."

“Twitter in its conception was a brilliant tool for enabling instant mass communication, making a true real-time global conversation possible for the first time. In its early conception, Twitter more than lived up to its mission statement, giving people 'the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.'"

"As time progressed…the company was slowly forced to add those barriers. Some of the first tools for controlling speech were designed to combat the likes of spam and financial fraudsters. Slowly, over time, Twitter staff and executives began to find more and more uses for these tools."

"Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well: first a little, then more often, then constantly. By 2020, requests from connected actors to delete tweets were routine. One executive would write to another: 'More to review from the Biden team.'”

The reply would come back: “Handled.” 

"Celebrities and unknowns alike could be removed or reviewed at the behest of a political party. Both parties had access to these tools. For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored. However, this system wasn't balanced. It was based on contacts." 

"Because Twitter was and is overwhelmingly staffed by people of one political orientation, there were more channels, more ways to complain, open to the left (well, Democrats) than the right." 

"Which brings us to The Twitter Files: Part One: How and Why Twitter Blocked the Hunter Biden Laptop Story."

Matt writes, "On October 14, 2020, the New York Post published BIDEN SECRET EMAILS, an expose based on the contents of Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop. Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be 'unsafe.' They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool reserved for extreme cases, like child pornography."

"White House spokeswoman Kaleigh McEnany was locked out of her account for tweeting about the story, prompting a furious letter from Trump campaign staffer Mike Hahn."

"This led to Twitter’s public policy executive Caroline Strom to find out the reasoning behind why the story was censored. Several employees noted that there was tension between the comms/policy teams, who had little/less control over moderation, and the safety/trust teams"

"Strom was told that the laptop story had been removed for violation of the company’s “hacked materials” policy. The decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role."

"One former employee told Taibbi that 'Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But no one had the guts to reverse it.'"

The confusion was evident in a lengthy exchange which included Gadde and former Trust and safety chief Yoel Roth. Communications official Trenton Kennedy writes, “I'm struggling to understand the policy basis for marking this as unsafe.”Yoel Roth writes, “This is an emerging situation where facts remain unclear. Given the SEVERE risks and lessons of 2016, we’re erring on the side of including a warning and preventing this content from being amplified.”

Roth’s remarks about 2016 is in reference to the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails which was released close to the 2016 Presidential Election —like how the NYPD’s report was released close to the 2020 Presidential Election.

Roth didn’t want the report to ruin Joe Biden’s chance of becoming President. The former Vice President of Global Communications Brandon Borrman asks, “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?”

To which former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker advised that “caution is warranted”.

Taibbi writes that “the problem with the "hacked materials" ruling, several sources said, was that this normally required an official/law enforcement finding of a hack. But such a finding never appears throughout what one executive describes as a "whirlwind" 24-hour, company-wide mess.”

Musk says that the idea behind the Twitter Files is “to come clean on everything that has happened in the past in order to build public trust for the future.”

Taibbi concludes that there is more to be exposed which includes “answers to questions about issues like shadow-banning, boosting, follower counts, the fate of various individual accounts, and more."

So buckle up and stay tuned for the next episode of the Twitter Files.

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