Twitter Files: Here’s how Twitter execs reinterpreted Trump tweets to justify banning him

By John Hugh DeMastri

Twitter executives, including former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde, reinterpreted then-President Donald Trump’s final Jan. 8, 2021, tweets to overrule the initial finding of the site’s safety team that they were not in violation of the rules, according to internal messages published by journalist Bari Weiss Monday.

Trump first tweeted that the “75,000,000 great American Patriots who voted for me … will have a Giant Voice long into the future. They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!” before tweeting a follow-up roughly an hour later saying he would not attend Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021.  Members of Twitter’s safety team initially rejected increasingly agitated calls from Twitter staff to ban Trump, saying that neither message was in clear violation of the rules, as they contained no overt or coded incitement to violence.

Less than 90 minutes after this initial assessment by the Twitter safety team, Gadde messaged another higher-ranking staffer that the safety team, suggesting that the team may have been incorrect to interpret the term “American Patriots” as being in reference Trump voters as opposed to the rioters present on Jan. 6., Weiss reported.

“The biggest question is whether a tweet like the one this morning from Trump, which isn’t a rule violation on its face, is being used as coded incitement to further violence,” Gadde messaged the other staffer, whose name was redacted. “Eg use of term ‘American Patriots’ and ‘They will not be disrespected or treated unfairly in any way, shape or form!!!’”

Twitter’s “scaled enforcement team,” a higher-ranking moderation team within the company, argued that if the phrase “American Patriots” referred to Jan. 6 rioters, the tweet clearly fell into Twitter’s rules against the glorification of violence, Weiss reported. Staffers who appeared to be members of the safety team — all names were redacted aside from safety team member Anika Navaroli — discussed this new argument, with one reporting that the scaled enforcement team “said they understand our position but will continue to push their [glorification of violence] assessment with leadership,” according to Weiss.

Another apparent safety team member reported that some staff members viewed Trump “as the leader of a terrorist group responsible for violence/deaths comparable to Christchurch shooter or Hitler and on that basis and on the totality of his Tweets, he should be deplatformed,” according to Weiss. “They will continue to push that argument with leadership and we will see where it falls.”

After then-CEO Jack Dorsey and Gadde hosted a 30-minute all-staff meeting to answer questions about the company’s response to Trump, some employees got even more frustrated, with then-head of health and safety Yoel Roth reporting that some employees were “suggesting that people implementing our policies are like Nazis following orders,” according to Weiss.

Soon after, Dorsey requested a simple argument to justify a Trump ban, Weiss reported.

When Twitter issued its ban, its justifications mirrored those initially presented by Gadde, noting that the mention of a “GIANT VOICE” that demanded respect, in addition to the use of the phrase “American Patriots,” could be interpreted by rioters and other violent actors as condoning their actions, according to a Jan. 8 blog post by Twitter. By confirming he would not attend the inauguration, Trump could be signaling to those violent actors that it was a “‘safe’ target.”

Twitter did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.

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