CNN

Elon Musk speaks out on ‘Twitter Files’ release detailing platform’s inner workings

Dec 4, 2022, 10:27 AM
The Twitter emblem is displayed on a smart phone outside the Twitter offices in Dublin on November ...
The Twitter emblem is displayed on a smart phone outside the Twitter offices in Dublin on November 5, 2022, in Dublin, Ireland. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
(Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Twitter owner Elon Musk spoke out on Saturday evening about the so-called “Twitter Files,” a long tweet thread posted by journalist Matt Taibbi, who had been provided with details about behind-the-scenes discussions on Twitter’s content moderation decision-making, including the call to suppress a 2020 New York Post story about Hunter Biden and his laptop.

During a two-hour long Twitter Spaces session, Musk said a second “Twitter Files” drop will again involve Taibbi, along with journalist Bari Weiss, but did not give an exact date for when that would be released.

Musk — who claims to have not read the released files himself — said the impetus for the original tweet thread was about what happened in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and “how much government influence was there.”

Taibbi’s thread reaffirmed how, in the initial hours after the Post story about Hunter Biden went live, Twitter employees grappled with fears that it could have been the result of a Russian hacking operation. It showed employees on several Twitter teams debating over whether to restrict the article under the company’s hacked materials policy, weeks before the 2020 election.

While some questioned the basis for the decision, others within the company said the circumstances surrounding the story were unclear and recommended caution, according to screenshots of internal communications shared by Taibbi.

Musk on Saturday also criticized the mainstream media for downplaying the “Twitter Files” release, while accusing news organizations — particularly the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post — of “setting agendas.”

He also alleged that news organizations, social media companies and universities suppress free speech.

During the wide-ranging session, Musk spoke on many other topics, including that US citizens, not the government, should be able to decide the fate of Edward Snowden, the former CIA contractor who leaked intelligence secrets in 2013.

Musk also said Twitter should program and monetize native long audio and video posting. He also mentioned that he met disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried in March, and that his “BS meter went off,” while doubling down on his claim that Twitter never took investment from Bankman-Fried nor FTX.

Bankman-Fried told Axios last week that he isn’t sure of what happened to the $100 million stake his Alameda Research trading vehicle owned in Twitter. He is quoted as saying that some of the investment may have been sold before Twitter went private in October, but he wasn’t sure.

Musk also said that Twitter will roll out its new account verifications within the next week, which had been halted.


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Elon Musk speaks out on ‘Twitter Files’ release detailing platform’s inner workings