Shadow-banning is real: Conservatives complained for years that platforms were “shadow-banning” them, or limiting others from engaging with their accounts. The second installment of the Twitter files showed that Twitter executives were blacklisting high-profile conservatives and making their content harder to find. Former CEO Jack Dorsey told Congress years earlier that Twitter was not shadow-banning.
Twitter executives met regularly with the FBI: Between October 2020 and January 6, 2021, Twitter’s censorship decisions were influenced by weekly meetings with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, who would even flag specific tweets for censorship. Twitter execs discussed making their relationship with the FBI public but ultimately decided against it.
Censorship was prioritized over removing child exploitation: Under previous leadership, Twitter had a severe problem with child exploitation content. The Safety Operations team was responsible for solving this problem, but censorship ultimately took priority under the leadership of Yoel Roth, who defended children’s presence on adult applications. Musk has since made the issue Twitter’s top priority.
Big picture: Twitter executives collaborated with the federal government to police online speech and willingly censored conservative voices—not to mention a sitting president. Some employees expressed concerns over the platform’s “dictatorial” path, but such criticisms were dismissed.