Anika Collier Navoli was at her “wits’ end.” Twitter’s safety policy team had gathered via video conference to walk through what they expected to see the next day, Jan. 6, 2021, and began to argue.
Safety policy staff had clashed repeatedly with Twitter’s management over whether to take a tougher stance on incitement to violence by Donald Trump and his legions of election deniers. She and colleagues were seeing worrying signs and feared what might happen the next day. “There might be someone getting shot tomorrow,” one employee warned, according to a deposition given to the Jan 6. Committee.
When the meeting ended Navaroli, a senior safety policy specialist on Twitter’s trust and safety team, Slack-messaged a colleague with a defeated summary. “When people are shooting each other in the streets tomorrow, I’m going to try and rest in the knowledge that we tried.”
Twitter had, once again, refused to codify the coded-incitement-to-violence policy, one that had already been drafted by its employees. Staff had tried to put such guidelines to paper in hopes that their superiors would respond to the encouragement to violence coming from Trump’s Twitter account and those of his supporters. The company would later tell the Jan. 6 Committee that it put the policy into place the moment rioters breached the capitol — a claim characterized as misleading by the committee in an unpublished committee staff report obtained by Rolling Stone. The last-minute enforcement, after weeks of neglect and pushback, left the Twitter moderators with little understanding of where and how it would apply, staff wrote.
The exchange, captured in a video that was recorded for the benefit of Twitter employees, now sits unreleased in the archives of the Jan. 6 Committee, along with other unreleased evidence obtained from the social media company by congressional investigators. [Continue reading…]