Independent journalist Bari Weiss revealed on Thursday how Twitter used blacklists to limit the visibility of tweets coming from conservative users in the latest disclosure of the social media giant’s internal operations.
Right-wing talk show host Dan Bongino, Stanford University’s anti-COVID lockdown advocate Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and conservative activist Charlie Kirk were among the users targeted for suppression by Twitter, according to Weiss.
Weiss’s tweets followed Friday’s bombshell revelations by fellow independent journalist Matt Taibbi, whose Twitter posts were promoted by new company owner Elon Musk as “what really happened with the Hunter Biden suppression story by Twitter.”
Taibbi said his reporting uncovered the “extraordinary steps” Twitter took in response to The Post’s blockbuster scoop about Hunter Biden’s infamous laptop in October 2020, including “removing links and posting warnings that it may be ‘unsafe.'”
“They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography,” he wrote.
Taibbi said the decision was made behind the back of Twitter founder and then-CEO Jack Dorsey, with former general counsel Vijaya Gadde — who was reportedly fired by Musk when he took over in October — “playing a key role.”
Undated, internal company messages showed Gadde and others discussing how the company would cite concern the story was based on “hacked materials,” even though it had no evidence to support that notion.
Catch up on Twitter’s censorship of The Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story
- Happening now: Hunter Biden laptop bombshell: Elon Musk’s Twitter drops Post censorship details
- Our original report: Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad
- Editorial: Twitter is running a blackmail operation — cooperate or no traffic for you
- Dorsey backs down: Twitter CEO admits handling of blocked Post article was ‘unacceptable’
- How tweet it is: Twitter unlocks The Post’s account after two weeks
A former employee reportedly told Taibbi that “everyone knew this was f–ked.”
But the company’s “response was to essentially to err on the side of…continuing to err,” Taibbi said.
In addition to suppressing the story, Twitter also locked out The Post from its main Twitter account after demanding the removal of six tweets — which The Post refused.
After a two-week stalemate sparked outrage at Twitter, the social media giant caved and unlocked the account, saying it was revising its “Hacked Materials Policy” and “updating our practice of not retroactively overturning prior enforcement.”
Last week, former Twitter head of trust and safety Yoel Roth admitted during a interview that it wrong to suppress The Post’s reporting, saying that “for me, it didn’t reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter.”
And on Tuesday, Musk announced that he’d fired Twitter deputy general counsel Jim Baker, a controversial former top FBI lawyer, over his “possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue.”
Musk said he’d questioned Baker about Twitter’s response to the laptop story and found his answers “unconvincing.”
Taibbi also tweeted Tuesday that Baker was behind the delay Friday in releasing his “Twitter Files” tweets because he’d been “vetting” the underlying material “without knowledge of new management.”
Taibbi said Weiss uncovered Baker’s involvement when she learned “that the person in charge of releasing the files was someone named Jim.”
“When she called to ask ‘Jim’s’ last name, the answer came back: ‘Jim Baker,’” Taibbi wrote.
“‘My jaw hit the floor,’ says Weiss.”