Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff’s office nagged Twitter to censor content it disliked and even suggested law enforcement should be able to track the flagged tweeters, in the latest Twitter Files.
In Thursday’s Twitter Files part 14, Matt Taibbi uncovered that Democrats demanded Twitter support the Russian collusion hoax without evidence. Tabbi followed up his report with a Friday supplemental drop highlighting just how much Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) badgered Twitter to censor content or support his political ideology. Both Schiff and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) asked for censorship.
Schiff not only co-wrote a letter which claimed Russian bots were propagandizing Americans online without evidence, as Taibbi said Jan. 12. Rather, “Staff of House Democrat @AdamSchiff wrote to Twitter quite often, asking that tweets be taken down,” Taibbi tweeted. “This important use of taxpayer resources involved an ask about a ‘Peter Douche’ parody photo of Joe Biden. The DNC made the same request.” The parody photo showed Joe Biden making a very silly face.
But it appears that Democrats were angry primarily because Trump retweeted the picture. Fortunately, Taibbi said, for once Twitter refused to censor the picture. Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth said the image had “humorous intent” and added that “any reasonable observer” could tell the image was doctored. Which did not include Schiff or his staffers, apparently.
Twitter also turned down requests to censor content related to Schiff and his staff, saying it was not “conceivable.” Twitter said, “For their listed asks (demands?)…many fall outside of any remediations.” This didn’t seem to concern Schiff’s office.
But Twitter did sometimes act, even if it didn’t suspend an account, Taibbi noted. He offered as an example that Twitter policy at the time “deamplified” instead of banning some accounts. Twitter executives referenced a tweet batch including content about the fraudulent Steele Dossier and the Ukraine “whistleblower,” in an email screenshot shared by Taibbi. Twitter executives wrote in the email, “We can internally confirm that a number of the accounts flagged are already included in this deamplification.”
That didn’t satisfy Schiff’s office either, though. Schiff’s office reportedly expressed concerns that deamplification “might make it harder for law enforcement to track the offending Tweeters,” according to Taibbi. Schiff’s office apparently wanted law enforcement to be able to penalize users for free speech.
Schiff’s office wrote, “We are curious whether any deamplification measures implemented by Twitter’s enforcement team – which we appreciate greatly – could… impede the ability of law enforcement to search Twitter for potential threats about Misko and other HPSCI staff.”
Taibbi later added that Schiff frequently claimed the content he wanted censored was “QAnon related,” when it was really “just run-of-the-mill political criticism,” not conspiracy theories.
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