|From: Thomas M.||3/23/2023 9:38:02 AM|
|Capsule Summaries of all Twitter Files Threads|
For those who haven't been following, a compilation of one-paragraph summaries of all the Twitter Files threads by every reporter. With links and notes on key revelations
In order, the Twitter Files threads:
- Twitter Files Part 1: December 2, 2022, by @mtaibbi
TWITTER AND THE HUNTER BIDEN LAPTOP STORY
Recounting the internal drama at Twitter surrounding the decision to block access to a New York Post exposé on Hunter Biden in October, 2020.
Key revelations: Twitter blocked the story on the basis of its “hacked materials” policy, but executives internally knew the decision was problematic. “Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?” is how comms official Brandon Borrman put it. Also: when a Twitter contractor polls members of Congress about the decision, they hear Democratic members want more moderation, not less, and “the First Amendment isn’t absolute.”
1a. Twitter Files Supplemental, December 6, 2022, by @mtaibbi
THE “EXITING” OF TWITTER DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL JIM BAKER
A second round of Twitter Files releases was delayed, as new addition Bari Weiss discovers former FBI General Counsel and Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker was reviewing the first batches of Twitter Files documents, whose delivery to reporters had slowed.
- Twitter Files Part 2, by @BariWeiss, December 8, 2022
TWITTER’S SECRET BLACKLISTS
Bari Weiss gives a long-awaited answer to the question, “Was Twitter shadow-banning people?” It did, only the company calls it “visibility filtering.” Twitter also had a separate, higher council called SIP-PES that decided cases for high-visibility, controversial accounts.
Key revelations: Twitter had a huge toolbox for controlling the visibility of any user, including a “Search Blacklist” (for Dan Bongino), a “Trends Blacklist” for Stanford’s Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and a “Do Not Amplify” setting for conservative activist Charlie Kirk. Weiss quotes a Twitter employee: “Think about visibility filtering as being a way for us to suppress what people see to different levels. It’s a very powerful tool.” With help from @abigailshrier, @shellenbergermd, @nelliebowles, and @isaacgrafstein.
Twitter Files, Part 3, by @mtaibbi, December 9, 2022
THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, October 2020 - January 6th, 2021
First in a three-part series looking at how Twitter came to the decision to suspend Donald Trump. The idea behind the series is to show how all of Twitter’s “visibility filtering” tools were on display and deployed after January 6th, 2021. Key Revelations: Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth not only met regularly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, but with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). Also, Twitter was aggressively applying “visibility filtering” tools to Trump well before the election.
Twitter Files Part 4, by @ShellenbergerMD, December 10, 2022
THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, January 7th, 2021
This thread by Michael Shellenberger looks at the key day after the J6 riots and before Trump would ultimately be banned from Twitter on January 8th, showing how Twitter internally reconfigured its rules to make a Trump ban fit their policies.
Key revelations: at least one Twitter employee worried about a “slippery slope” in which “an online platform CEO with a global presence… can gatekeep speech for the entire world,” only to be shot down. Also, chief censor Roth argues for a ban on congressman Matt Gaetz even though it “doesn’t quite fit anywhere (duh),” and Twitter changed its “public interest policy” to clear a path for Trump’s removal.
Twitter Files Part 5, by @BariWeiss, December 11, 2022
THE REMOVAL OF DONALD TRUMP, January 8th, 2021
As angry as many inside Twitter were with Donald Trump after the January 6th Capitol riots, staffers struggled to suspend his account, saying things like, “I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement.” As documented by Weiss, they found a way to pull the trigger anyway.
Key revelations: there were dissenters in the company (“Maybe because I am from China,” said one employee, “I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation”), but are overruled by senior executives like Vijaya Gadde and Roth, who noted many on Twitter’s staff were citing the “Banality of Evil,” and comparing those who favored sticking to a strict legalistic interpretation of Twitter’s rules — i.e. keep Trump, who had “no violation” — to “Nazis following orders.”
Twitter Files Part 6, by @mtaibbi, December 16, 2022
TWITTER, THE FBI SUBSIDIARY
Twitter’s contact with the FBI was “constant and pervasive,” as FBI personnel, mainly in the San Francisco field office, regularly sent lists of “reports” to Twitter, often about Americans with low follower counts making joke tweets. Tweeters on both the left and the right were affected.
Key revelations: A senior Twitter executive reports, “FBI was adamant no impediments to sharing” classified information exist. Twitter also agreed to “bounce” content on the recommendations of a wide array of governmental and quasi-governmental actors, from the FBI to the Homeland Security agency CISA to Stanford’s Election Integrity Project to state governments. The company one day received so many moderation requests from the FBI, an executive congratulated staffers at the end for completing the “monumental undertaking.”
Twitter Files Part 7, by @ShellenbergerMD, December 19, 2022
THE FBI AND HUNTER BIDEN’S LAPTOP
The Twitter Files story increases its focus on the company’s relationship to federal law enforcement and intelligence, and shows intense communication between the FBI and Twitter just before the release of the Post’s Hunter Biden story.
Key Revelations: San Francisco agent Elvis Chan “sends 10 documents to Twitter’s then-Head of Site Integrity, Yoel Roth, through Teleporter, a one-way communications channel from the FBI to Twitter,” the evening before the release of the Post story. Also, Baker in an email explains Twitter was compensated for “processing requests” by the FBI, saying “I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!”
Twitter Files Part 8, by @lhfang, December 20, 2022
HOW TWITTER QUIETLY AIDED THE PENTAGON’S COVERT ONLINE PSYOP CAMPAIGN
Lee Fang takes a fascinating detour, looking at how Twitter for years approved and supported Pentagon-backed covert operations. Noting the company explicitly testified to Congress that it didn’t allow such behavior, the platform nonetheless was a clear partner in state-backed programs involving fake accounts.
Key revelations: after the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) sent over a list of 52 Arab-language accounts “we use to amplify certain messages,” Twitter agreed to “whitelist” them. Ultimately the program would be outed in the Washington Post in 2022 — two years after Twitter and other platforms stopped assisting — but contrary to what came out in those reports, Twitter knew about and/or assisted in these programs for at least three years, from 2017-2020.
Lee wrote a companion piece for the Intercept here:
Twitter Files Part 9, by @mtaibbi, December 24th, 2022
TWITTER AND “OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES”
The Christmas Eve thread (I should have waited a few days to publish!) further details how the channels of communication between the federal government and Twitter operated, and reveals that Twitter directly or indirectly received lists of flagged content from “Other Government Agencies,” i.e. the CIA.
Key revelations: CIA officials attended at least one conference with Twitter in the summer of 2020, and companies like Twitter and Facebook received “OGA briefings,” at their regular “industry” meetings held in conjunction with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The FBI and the “Foreign Influence Task Force” met regularly “not just with Twitter, but with Yahoo!, Twitch, Cloudfare, LinkedIn, even Wikimedia.”
Twitter Files Part 10, by @DavidZweig, December 28, 2022
HOW TWITTER RIGGED THE COVID DEBATE
David Zweig drills down into how Twitter throttled down information about COVID that was true but perhaps inconvenient for public officials, “discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed.”
Key Revelations: Zweig found memos from Twitter personnel who’d liaised with Biden administration officials who were “very angry” that Twitter had not deplatformed more accounts. White House officials for instance wanted attention on reporter Alex Berenson. Zweig also found “countless” instances of Twitter banning or labeling “misleading” accounts that were true or merely controversial. A Rhode Island physician named Andrew Bostom, for instance, was suspended for, among other things, referring to the results of a peer-reviewed study on mRNA vaccines.
Twitter Files Parts 11 and 12, by @ mtaibbi, January 3, 2023
HOW TWITTER LET THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN
TWITTER AND THE FBI “BELLY BUTTON”
These two threads focus respectively on the second half of 2017, and a period stretching roughly from summer of 2020 through the present. The first describes how Twitter fell under pressure from Congress and the media to produce “material” showing a conspiracy of Russian accounts on their platform, and the second shows how Twitter tried to resist fulfilling moderation requests for the State Department, but ultimately agreed to let State and other agencies send requests through the FBI, which agent Chan calls “the belly button of the USG.” Revelations: at the close of 2017, Twitter makes a key internal decision. Outwardly, the company would claim independence and promise that content would only be removed at “our sole discretion.” The internal guidance says, in writing, that Twitter will remove accounts “identified by the U.S. intelligence community” as “identified by the U.S.. intelligence community as a state-sponsored entity conducting cyber-operations.”
The second thread shows how Twitter took in requests from everyone — Treasury, HHS, NSA, FBI, DHS, etc. — and also received personal requests from politicians like Democratic congressman Adam Schiff, who asked to have journalist Paul Sperry suspended.
Twitter Files Part #13, by @ AlexBerenson, January 9, 2023
HOW TWITTER COVERED UP COVID TRUTHS
New addition Alex Berenson details how Twitter throttled down or erased true information about COVID-19, with the help of a former Pfizer lobbyist, Scott Gottlieb.
Key Revelations: Twitter senior political liaison Todd O’Boyle feared that onetime acting FDA commission Brett Giroir’s correct observations about the effectiveness of natural immunity were “corrosive” and might “go viral,” and put a misleading label on the tweet. Gottlieb also pressured Twitter to remove Berenson himself.
Twitter Files Part #14, by @ mtaibbi, January 12th, 2023
THE RUSSIAGATE LIES
One: The Fake Tale of Russian Bots and the #ReleaseTheMemo Hashtag
Internal communications at Twitter show that Russian bots were not in fact hyping the classified memo of Republican congressman Devin Nunes in January of 2018.
Key Revelations: Three key Democrats — Senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blumenthal, and former House Intel Committee chief Adam Schiff — cited a think tank called Hamilton 68 in denouncing a memo by Nunes as aided by “Russian influence operations.” Yet all three were told by Twitter executives there were no Russians in the picture. Said former Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth, “I just reviewed the accounts that posted the first 50 tweets with #releasethememo and… none of them show any signs of affiliation to Russia.”
Twitter Files Supplemental, by @ mtaibbi, January 13th, 2023
MORE ADAM SCHIFF BANS, AND “DEAMPLIFICATION.”
A brief thread of 10 tweets showing that the former head of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, sent repeated requests for bans of people critical of their office.
Key Revelation: Schiff and the DNC both not only asked for the takedown of an obvious satire by “Peter Douche,” but requested takedowns of accounts that were critical of the Steele dossier and outed the name of the supposed “whistleblower” in the Ukrainegate case, Eric Ciaramella. Schiff staffers said that while they “appreciate greatly” efforts by Twitter to deamplify certain accounts, they worried such effort s “could… impede the ability of law enforcement to search Twitter.”
Twitter Files #15 by @mtaibbi, January 27, 2023
MOVE OVER, JAYSON BLAIR: TWITTER FILES EXPOSE NEXT GREAT MEDIA FRAUD Internal communication about Hamilton 68, a project by the Alliance for Securing Democracy purporting to track 600 account “linked” to “Russian influence activities.” Reporters used Hamilton 68 as the basis for countless news stories, from CNN’s “ Russian bots are using #WalkAway to try to wound Dems in midterms” to “ After Florida School Shooting, Russia’s Bot Army Pounced.”
Key Revelation: Twitter’s Yoel Roth was suspicious of Hamilton 68’s methodology and reverse-engineered their list, which he quickly discovered to be bogus, full not of Russians but “legitimate right-leaning accounts” who were being implicitly called Russian assets. “Virtually any conclusion drawn from [the dashboard],” Roth wrote, “will take conversations in conservative circles on Twitter and accuse them of being Russian.” Roth urged Twitter to “call this out on the bullshit it is,” but Twitter higher-ups worried about the political consequences, choosing instead to play a “longer game.” Neither the actors involved, nor any of the media outlets who ran Hamilton-based stories intitally commented, though the ASD later replied, prompting a back-and- forth (and forth) with this site.
Twitter Files #16, by @mtaibbi, February 18, 2023
COMIC INTERLUDE: A MEDIA EXPERIMENT
Mainstream outlets finally cover the Twitter Files with excitement, after House testimony elicited a claim that Donald Trump complained, unsuccessfully, to Twitter about a tweet by Chrissy Teigen (who in turn complained that she didn’t “ know how to go on” after her tweet about Trump being a “pussy ass bitch” was read to congress). Irritated that this became the big censorship story after releasing thousands of takedown requests from government agencies involving people all over the world, I decided to do an experiment.
Key Revelations: We released a list of 354 names Maine Senate Angus King wanted taken down for reasons like “Rand Paul visit excitement,” “followed by [former Republican opponent Eric] Brakey,” and my personal favorite, “mentions immigration.” For balance we also released a letter from a Republican official at the State Department, Mark Lenzi, who tells Twitter about 14 real Americans “you may want to look into and delete.” Surely, if the main objection to the Twitter Files is that they’re “one-sided,” someone will cover a Republican doing the bad thing? But no, more crickets. With help from @Techno_Fog
Twitter Files #17: by @mtaibbi, March 2, 2023
NEW KNOWLEDGE, THE GLOBAL ENGAGEMENT CENTER, AND STATE-SPONSORED BLACKLISTS
A review of the activities of the Global Engagement Center, or GEC, what one source called “an incubator for the domestic disinformation complex.”
Key Revelations: A GEC-funded think tank, the DFRLab, sent Twitter a list of 40,000 names of people suspected of supporting “Hindu nationalism” that somehow had scads of ordinary Americans with handles like @mad_murican and @TrumpitC on the list; GEC sent Twitter a list of 5500 “Chinese accounts” that among other things had three CNN contributors on it (“Not exactly Anderson’s besties, but CNN assets if you will,” commented Twitter’s Patrick Conlon), GEC sent another list of 499 accounts deemed Iranian disinformation, using criteria like: used Signal and Telegram to communicate and used hashtags like #IraniansDebateWithBiden. Other GEC reports deemed various actors part of foreign propaganda “ecosystems” for offenses like following more than one Chinese diplomat, retweeting an Iranian-created “FREE PALESTINE” meme, and for retweeting material that was “anti-Macron in nature.”
Twitter Files #18: by @mtaibbi, March 9, 2023
Statement to Congress
THE CENSORSHIP-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX
On the day Mike Shellenberger and I testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government, I released this thread on the theme of Michael’s inspired title for his statement, “The Censorship-Industrial Complex.”
Key Revelations: The thread focused on Stanford University, the Election Integrity Partnership, and the state funding of a slew of think-tanks, NGOs, and for-profit firms connected to the “anti-disinformation” movement. One of those, New Knowledge, was caught faking a Russian influence campaign in an Alabama Senate race, pushing on reporters the false idea that Republican Roy Moore was being followed by a slate of Russian bots. “There have been other instances in which domestic actors created fake accounts,” Twitter’s Yoel Roth wrote. “Some are fairly prominent in progressive circles.” Just before the thread went live, @NAffects discovered a string of emails about the Virality Project that succeeded EIP, one of which talked about striking down “true stories of vaccine side effects.” With additional help from @ShellenbergerMD, @Techno_Fog, @bergerbell, @SchmidtSue1, @tw6384, @ AaronJMate, and @ MikeBenzCyber
Twitter Files #19: by @mtaibbi, March 17, 2023
The Great Covid-19 Lie Machine
Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of “True Stories”
Following up on the finding by Andrew Lowenthal (@NAffacts) from the week before, TF 19 recounts how Stanford worked with four think-tanks (several the recipients of state awards) and multiple government agencies to create a cross-platform JIRA ticketing system for seven major Internet platforms, including Twitter, Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and Medium.
Key revelations: Multiple instances of the Virality Project recommending action against true stories deemed “standard misinformation on your platform,” from “celebrity deaths after vaccine” to a story about a school in Central New York that closed after teachers reported post-vaccine side effects. VP continually desrbed opposition to Vaccine Passports as anti-vaccine behavior and would describe as disinformation “events” things like a news story that ‘increased distrust in Fauci’s expert guidance.” A report by Graphika forwarded to Twitter explained that “seeding doubt and uncertainty in authoritative voices” like Facui’s “leads to a society that finds it too challenging to identify what’s true or false.” Therefore, people need to be shielded from difficult truths. With additional help from @ShellenbergerMD, @Techno_Fog, @bergerbell, @SchmidtSue1, @tw6384, @ AaronJMate, and @ MikeBenzCyber
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|To: Thomas M. who wrote (2483)||3/23/2023 11:43:16 AM|
|And in the grand scheme of things this is pretty meaningless. The reporting itself is quite biased and Twitter was a private company (publicly traded) - They have advertisers and need to protect themselves from being sued. Fox News is an example of what can happen when filters are not used and lies are published.|
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|From: Glenn Petersen||3/25/2023 7:11:33 PM|
|The company plans to offer a liquidity event roughly a year from now, in which employees can cash out some of their equity, the email shows.|
Twitter Offers New Equity Grants to Staff
New stock will start to vest after six months, according to an email
By Alexa Corse
Wall Street Journal
Updated March 25, 2023 12:12 pm ET
Twitter Inc. is offering new equity grants to staff that will start to vest after six months, according to an email sent late Friday that was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.
The company plans to offer a liquidity event roughly a year from now, in which employees can cash out some of their equity, the email shows. The number of employees who received the equity grants and the value of the shares couldn’t be learned.
Compensation has been one of many questions facing employees since Elon Musk’s tumultuous acquisition of Twitter last year. Twitter typically offered stock grants, which vested over several years, as part of employees’ compensation, according to former employees. Stock-based compensation has been a popular way to attract talent at many tech companies.
In response to a request for comment, Twitter’s press email responded with a poop emoji, which Mr. Musk recently tweeted will be the company’s auto-response for media inquiries.
The new grants will vest over four years, according to the email, and be in addition to and separate from any legacy Twitter equity that was converted to cash at the time of the acquisition in October 2022.
Twitter spent nearly $630 million on stock-based compensation in 2021, the last full year it publicly reported financial results before going private, according to regulatory filings. The company had more than 7,500 full-time employees that year.
Multiple rounds of layoffs and other departures followed Mr. Musk’s acquisition, and the company hasn’t said exactly how many employees it now has. Mr. Musk said in December the staff was down to roughly 2,000.
When Mr. Musk took Twitter private for $44 billion in October, the company said employees’ stock grants would be converted into the right to receive cash for $54.20 a share, the acquisition price, according to a regulatory filing.
But employees still had questions about how Twitter would handle compensation going forward as a private company.
In February, Mr. Musk told staff in an email that Twitter would make “very significant stock and other compensation awards, based on performance.” Staff would get more information on March 24, he said, according to that email viewed by the Journal.
It wasn’t the first time Mr. Musk mentioned compensation. He previously told staff in November that Twitter would continue to provide stock and said the plan would be similar to what SpaceX offers, according to an email seen by the Journal. “Exceptional amounts of stock will be awarded for exceptional performance,” Mr. Musk added.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., the formal name for Mr. Musk’s rocket and satellite company, for years has used company stock to attract and pay employees. Because SpaceX is privately held, staffers who own shares eligible for sale can’t find a buyer for them the way that investors who hold stock in public companies are able to do.
Instead, SpaceX periodically invites current and former employees to sell their shares if they choose, giving them the chance to potentially monetize their holdings. The company sets a total value of shares that can be sold in the offerings, and it isn’t guaranteed that someone who wants to cash out stock will be able to do so or sell all of the shares they want, former employees have said.
“We have been able to give employees liquidity,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president, said at an industry event in February.
SpaceX’s valuation has risen over the years, allowing employees and former staffers to reap significant gains if they sold. A recent offering looked to value the company at around $140 billion, up almost fivefold from 2018, when SpaceX worked on a funding round designed to value it at $30.5 billion.
Micah Maidenberg contributed to this article.
Write to Alexa Corse at firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter Offers New Equity Grants to Staff - WSJ
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|To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (2486)||3/25/2023 8:11:33 PM|
When Mr. Musk took Twitter private for $44 billion in October, the company said employees’ stock grants would be converted into the right to receive cash for $54.20 a share, the acquisition price, according to a regulatory filing. I bet people will line up to buy $54 shares from employees.
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|From: kidl||3/26/2023 8:20:57 AM|
|Elon Musk puts $20 billion value on Twitter, The Information reports|
Twitter logo and a photo of Elon Musk are displayed through magnifier in this illustration taken October 27, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo
March 25 (Reuters) - Twitter Inc CEO Elon Musk has offered the social-media company's employees stock grants at a valuation of nearly $20 billion, the Information reported on Saturday, citing a person familiar with an email Musk sent to Twitter staff.
The reported valuation is less than half of the $44 billion that Musk paid to acquire the social media platform, pointing to a drop in Twitter's value.
Twitter did not immediately respond to a Reuters' emailed request for a comment.
Musk said in December that Twitter is on track to be "roughly cash flow break-even" in 2023 as top advertisers slashed their spending on the social-media platform after the billionaire' s takeover.
Reporting by Rahat Sandhu in Bengaluru
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|From: Glenn Petersen||3/26/2023 9:58:11 AM|
|Gettr is a would-be Twitter alternative / competitor.|
Indicted Chinese exile controls Gettr social media site, ex-employees say
Guo Wengui, arrested March 15 on fraud charges, was known to have invested, but the extent of his influence on the site has not been previously reported.
By Joseph Menn
The Washington Post
March 26, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. EDT
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|From: Ron||3/26/2023 11:54:41 AM|
|Who's going to help a billionaire pay his bills? Will companies pay $1,000 a month for 'gold badge' verification? Most individuals are not going for the $8 monthly plan |
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