Twitter admits in court filing: Elon Musk is simply wrong about government interference at Twitter

By | June 6, 2023

Mike Masnick writes:

It is amazing the degree to which some people will engage in confirmation bias and believe absolute nonsense, even as the facts show the opposite is true. Over the past few months, we’ve gone through the various “Twitter Files” releases, and pointed out over and over again how the explanations people gave for them simply don’t match up with the underlying documents.

To date, not a single document revealed has shown what people now falsely believe: that the US government and Twitter were working together to “censor” people based on their political viewpoints. Literally none of that has been shown at all. Instead, what’s been shown is that Twitter had a competent trust & safety team that debated tough questions around how to apply policies for users on their platform and did not seem at all politically motivated in their decisions. Furthermore, while various government entities sometimes did communicate with the company, there’s little evidence of any attempt by government officials to compel Twitter to moderate in any particular way, and Twitter staff regularly and repeatedly rebuffed any attempt by government officials to go after certain users or content.

Now, as you may recall, two years ago, a few months after Donald Trump was banned from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, he sued the companies, claiming that the banning violated the 1st Amendment. This was hilariously stupid for many reasons, not the least of which is because at the time of the banning Donald Trump was the President of the United States, and these companies were very much private entities. The 1st Amendment restricts the government, not private entities, and it absolutely does not restrict private companies from banning the President of the United States should the President violate a site’s rules.

As expected, the case went poorly for Trump, leading to it being dismissed. It is currently on appeal. However, in early May, Trump’s lawyers filed a motion to effectively try to reopen the case at the district court, arguing that the Twitter Files changed everything, and that now there was proof that Trump’s 1st Amendment rights were violated.

In October of 2022, after the entry of this Court’s Judgment, Twitter was acquired by Elon Musk. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Musk invited several journalists to review Twitter’s internal records. Allowing these journalists to search for evidence that Twitter censored content that was otherwise compliant with Twitter’s “TOS”, the journalists disclosed their findings in a series of posts on Twitter collectively known as the Twitter Files. As set out in the attached Rule 60 motion, the Twitter Files confirm Plaintiffs’ allegations that Twitter engaged in a widespread censorship campaign that not only violated the TOS but, as much of the censorship was the result of unlawful government influence, violated the First Amendment.

I had been thinking about writing this up as a story, but things got busy, and last week Twitter (which, again, is now owned by Elon Musk who has repeatedly made ridiculously misleading statements about what the Twitter Files showed) filed its response, where they say (with risk of sanctions on the line) that this is all bullshit and nothing in the Twitter Files says what Trump (and Elon, and a bunch of his fans) claim it says. This is pretty fucking damning to anyone who believed the nonsense Twitter Files narrative. [Continue reading…]

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