(NewsNation) — Five installments of the “Twitter Files” have been shared so far. The initiative, backed by new Twitter CEO Elon Musk, aims to shed light on “free speech suppression” and content moderation measures.
In the video above, NewsNation host Dan Abrams breaks down each of the “Twitter Files” releases and what he says they mean.
“Twitter Files” Part One:
“Twitter Files” part one, released by independent journalist Matt Taibbi, focused on the social media platform’s decision in 2020 to limit the spread of a story from the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s laptop.
At first, Twitter reportedly blocked links to the article, saying it had material obtained through hacking. The decision was later reversed. Musk unveiled Twitter’s decision to delete tweets, some including nude pictures of Hunter Biden shared without his consent, after receiving a request from Joe Biden’s campaign.
“These interchanges revealed that much of the information that Twitter agreed to take down were naked pictures of Hunter Biden,” NewsNation host Dan Abrams said. “There was nothing in the first set of files that suggest an intentional effort to help the Biden campaign win. Bad judgment calls? Absolutely on the laptop story. Is criticism warranted? Yes. Did the left have more access to Twitter executives? Sure seems that way. But this release of information was hardly a bombshell.”
“Twitter Files” Part Two:
The second batch of “Twitter Files” included images of what appeared to be an internal Twitter system that marked accounts on various “blacklists.”
Former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss shared the second installment. Weiss posted multiple images of what looks like an internal Twitter system flagging certain accounts and information about them. Weiss also posted reported screenshots of messages from Twitter’s former head of safety and integrity. In one, he allegedly asked for research on “non-removal policy interventions like disabling engagements and de-amplification/visibility filtering.”
Abrams says Twitter had long admitted to essentially not amplifying certain content. He says the social media platform previously admitted they were moderating how tweets are presented in conversations and search.
“The new information confirms that with regard to some of the most controversial and sometimes dishonest pundits, anyone could still go to their Twitter pages and see all their tweets, but they wouldn’t be amplified by Twitter. Is that shadow banning, as Weiss and now many on the right claim, or is it just de-amplifying, as they’ve admitted to doing in the past? I guess it depends on how you define it,” Abrams said.
“Twitter Files” Part Three:
The third installment of the “Twitter Files” reported that Twitter was in communication with a list of government groups. This sparked controversy as to whether Twitter made decisions based on the influence of its employees or of the government.
“Twitter files number three focused on internal discussions about banning Trump and also revealed FBI meetings with Twitter security executives and Twitter files, but with nothing to suggest that anyone from the FBI told Twitter how they should handle it,” Abrams said.
“Twitter Files” Part Four:
Author Michael Shellenberger released part four of the “Twitter Files.” It uncovered information about some Twitter employee reactions to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Shellenberger shared screenshots of a Jan. 7 conversation between the former Twitter head of trust & safety and an anonymous co-worker who asked to blacklist the terms “stopthesteal” and “kraken,” both sometimes associated with the conspiracy that Trump won the 2020 election. Another conversation that day showed pressure from some employees that may have factored into former CEO Jack Dorsey’s decision to distribute permanent suspensions or bans following violations of community guidelines.
“Number four shows that Twitter executives allegedly reinterpreted their terms of service as a pretext to suspend the former president right after the riots, or as Shellenberger tweeted that on January 7, execs ‘created justifications to ban Trump, sought to change policy for Trump alone, distinct from other political leaders and expressed no concern for the free speech or democracy implications of a ban.”
“Twitter Files” Part Five:
The fifth part of the “Twitter Files” revealed by Bari Weiss on Monday detailed the alleged culture inside Twitter.
Musk summed up the culture, tweeting “Under pressure from hundreds of activist employees, Twitter deplatforms Trump, a sitting U.S. president, even though they themselves acknowledge he didn’t violate the rules.”
The release of the “Twitter Files” comes just over a month after Musk acquired Twitter.
The Associated Press and The Hill contributed to this report.