Elon Musk may release information on Twitter’s internal discussions regarding censorship of stories about Hunter Biden’s laptop prior to the 2020 election, the newly-established CEO suggested Wednesday.
Musk took over Twitter last month in a $44 billion deal and pursued an aggressive overhaul of the social media platform, firing thousands of workers and adjusting the site’s approach to account suspensions and censorship. The 51 year old, who has been vocal about the site’s future since its purchase, said late Wednesday that releasing internal Twitter messages about Biden’s laptop is “necessary to restore public trust.”
“Raise your hand if you think @ElonMusk should make public all internal discussions about the decision to censor the @NYPost’s story on Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 Election in the interest of Transparency,” one user tweeted.
“This is necessary to restore public trust,” Musk replied.
This is necessary to restore public trust
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2022
The New York Post first reported messages from Biden’s laptop in October 2020, weeks before a presidential election. Social media giants, including Twitter, cracked down on the story to prevent its spread. Current and former national security officials claimed at the time that the Biden story was likely Russian disinformation and a veiled attempt from Moscow to intervene in U.S. elections.
Media outlets such as The Washington Examiner, CBS News, The New York Times, and The Washington Post have confirmed the laptop’s contents and messages, in part regarding foreign business deals Hunter Biden worked on in Ukraine, China, and elsewhere.
Twitter initially banned the Post’s story on the social media platform. Users were blocked from posting the link to the story or direct messaging it to other users. Twitter also locked the Post’s account for weeks, saying that the Post’s story violated Twitter’s rules against “hacked materials” despite lacking evidence that the materials were obtained through hacking.
Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later admitted that Twitter made a mistake in taking action against the Post over its Biden laptop story.
“We were called here today because of an enforcement decision we made against the New York Post based on a policy we created in 2018 to prevent Twitter from being used to spread hacked materials. This resulted in us blocking people from sharing a New York Post article publicly or privately,” Dorsey said in November 2020 testimony to Congress. “We made a quick interpretation using no other evidence that the materials in the article were obtained through hacking, and according to our policy, we blocked them from being spread. Upon further consideration, we admitted this action was wrong and corrected it within 24 hours.”
Social media giant Facebook also censored the Post’s story. CEO Mark Zuckerberg later revealed that Facebook acted in part because of a briefing it received from the FBI warning about the spread of potential Russian information. The specifics of the briefing are unclear, nor is it clear whether Twitter and other sites received similar briefings from the FBI in the run-up to the 2020 election.