Yoel Roth is Twitter’s former head of trust and safety, and according to Reuters, he complained in a recent interview that the platform is no longer “safe” under new owner Elon Musk.
Yet while part of Roth’s job involved curbing election misinformation, the former employee all but admitted that Twitter was actually guilty of promoting it.
Censoring laptop report was “a mistake”
Roth’s statements came as he spoke on Tuesday at a conference put on by the Knight Foundation in Miami called “Informed: Conversations on Democracy in the Digital Age.”
At one point Roth was asked about Twitter’s decision in 2020 to ban sharing of a New York Post report on Hunter Biden’s laptop.
While many Democrats claimed the that story was Russian disinformation, those allegations were later shown to be false, with mainstream media outlets such as CBS News having since acknowledged that the laptop is genuine.
“We didn’t know what to believe, we didn’t know what was true, there was smoke — and ultimately for me, it didn’t reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter,” Roth said.
“But it set off every single one of my finely tuned APT28 ‘hack and leak campaign’ alarm bells,” he added. According to the New York Post, APT28 is an alternative name for the Russian cybercrime group Fancy Bear.
When asked whether the platform had made “a mistake” in censoring the story, Roth conceded that it had, saying, “In my opinion, yes.”
Poll suggests suppression of laptop story affected election
A Media Research Center poll found that some 16% of Biden voters who were not aware of the laptop story said they would have voted differently had they been better informed.
Seems like a good day to remind everyone that 16% of Biden voters would NOT have voted for Biden if they had been aware of the Hunter Biden laptop story pic.twitter.com/tw1fVsucNP
— Kyle Martinsen (@KyleMartinsen_) March 17, 2022
Meanwhile, conservatives have long questioned Roth’s ability to act fairly given the open hostility he has shown to them. This included a since deleted 2016 tweet in which he declared, “I’m just saying, we fly over those states that voted for a racist tangerine for a reason.”
In another tweet, Roth asserted that there were “actual Nazis in the White House” serving under former President Trump.