Elon Musk generated headlines earlier this month when he released material that documented how Twitter staff colluded with Democrats prior to the 2020 presidential election.
Musk caused another stir this past weekend by revealing previously unknown details surrounding the decision to ban former President Donald Trump permanently from the platform.
Those revelations came through journalist Michael Shellenberger, who laid out the backstory behind Trump’s banishment in a long series of tweets posted on Sunday.
Under pressure from hundreds of activist employees, Twitter deplatforms Trump, a sitting US President, even though they themselves acknowledge that he didn’t violate the rules: https://t.co/60PplztV4k
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 12, 2022
Trump was subjected to special rules
Shellenberger explained that there was a growing push to remove Trump from Twitter following the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.
This included public pressure from former First Lady Michelle Obama along with left-wing groups such as the Anti-Defamation League.
However, communications involving Twitter trust and safety head Yoel Roth show the company was struggling to find an excuse to remove the then-president, and it eventually decided to create a special standard for him that other world leaders were not subject to.
The ad exec is referring to Twitter’s policy of “Public-interest exceptions,” which allows the content of elected officials, even if it violates Twitter rules, “if it directly contributes to understanding or discussion of a matter of public concern” https://t.co/xTs14fD8V9 pic.twitter.com/ycbdlVmI7l
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 11, 2022
Shellenberger noted that tweets by government officials were normally protected by the “public-interest exceptions policy.” While this rule allowed an otherwise prohibited statement “if it directly contributes to understanding or discussion of a matter of public concern,” a decision was made to exclude Trump from the policy.
Twitter banned Trump but allowed others to call for genocide
Journalist Barri Weiss demonstrated this in a tweet thread of her own on Monday by showing how other political figures flouted the rules in a way Trump had not and yet still remained on the platform.
This included open calls for genocide, such as when Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei characterized Israel as “a malignant cancerous tumor” that needs to be “removed and eradicated.”
Similarly, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad posted a tweet in which he endorsed killing millions of French people.
Although Mohamad’s tweet was later removed, he was not banned from Twitter. What’s more, the ayatollah’s tweet was not taken down and his account faced no sanctions.
21. In October 2020, the former Malaysian Prime Minister said it was “a right” for Muslims to “kill millions of French people.”
Twitter deleted his tweet for “glorifying violence,” but he remains on the platform. The tweet below was taken from the Wayback Machine: pic.twitter.com/7tgxgCw9I9
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) December 12, 2022