White House “not involved” in Twitter moderation

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration was “not involved” in Twitter’s controversial content moderation or alleged efforts by former FBI attorney Jim Baker to halt new CEO Elon Musk’s transparency efforts, the White House spokesman claimed on Friday.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre maintained a lack of cooperation, though then-White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said last year that the government “reported” alleged misinformation to Facebook, another leading social media platform.

The Post asked Jean-Pierre about the matter three days after Musk fired Baker for allegedly cunningly overseeing the release of internal documents about decisions to suppress the Post’s October 2020 reporting of documents from first son Hunter Biden’s laptop .

“[Was] anyone in the Biden administration … is in contact with Baker, either regarding moderation decisions that critics call political censorship, or regarding [Musk’s] Transparency efforts lately?” a Post reporter asked Jean-Pierre at her regular press briefing.

“It is up to private companies to make such decisions,” replied Jean-Pierre. “We were not involved”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre
Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House is not involved in decisions about Twitter content.
Getty Images

“I can say that we were not involved,” she continued. “And like I’ve said several times this week… we’ve had this conversation in this briefing room many times, just in the last few days. They know, of course, that it’s up to these companies to make their own decisions about the content on their platform and to ensure that… their own standards and policies are in place.”

Musk released Baker after a conspicuous lack of communications with the FBI from a first set of documents released Friday night by journalist Matt Taibbi — who Musk provided with the records — showing there were early internal doubts about Twitter’s claim to censor The Post in accordance with its “hacked materials” policy.

There was no evidence the laptop was hacked. As The Post reported at the time, the computer was abandoned at a repair shop in Delaware.

A recent affidavit from Twitter’s former head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, says officials from the platform had “weekly” meetings with the FBI ahead of the 2020 election.

“I was told at these meetings that the intelligence community expects people associated with political campaigns to be hacked and that material obtained through these hacks is likely to be shared via social media platforms, including Twitter , is being disseminated,” Roth said in a December 2020 statement to the Federal Election Commission.

“I also learned at these meetings that there were rumors that a hack and leak operation would involve Hunter Biden.”

Former FBI General Counsel James Baker
Twitter CEO Elon Musk fired former top FBI attorney James Baker on Tuesday.
Ron Sachs – CNP/MEGA

The documents released by Taibbi did not shed light on the FBI’s possible role in censoring The Post.

Musk, who bought Twitter in October and vowed to restore free speech principles, tweeted Tuesday that he had fired Baker, who served as the FBI’s general counsel from 2014 to 2017 before joining Twitter as deputy general counsel in June 2020 .

“He was banned from Twitter today amid concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppressing information important to public dialogue.” Musk tweeted.

Jean-Pierre declined to comment Wednesday when Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich asked if the 2020 Biden campaign or the Biden family told Twitter the footage may have been hacked. Heinrich pointed out that Twitter typically requires a regulatory claim that material was obtained unlawfully.

Hunter Biden and the Biden campaign have never directly disputed the authenticity of the laptop documents, but have hinted that they may be the Kremlin’s product. Biden hinted at “a Russian conspiracy” during a campaign debate with then-President Donald Trump.

Twitter CEO Elon Musk
Elon Musk says he’s releasing internal Twitter censorship documents to restore public trust.
via REUTERS

A second batch of internal censorship documents released by Musk was released Thursday night by journalist Bari Weiss. That rate revealed censorship of certain accounts — after years of speculation about politically biased “shadow bans.” The internal documents showed that Stanford professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who criticized the impact of pandemic lockdowns on children, was among the accounts whose range was limited.

The role of government officials in censorship decisions received significant attention when The Intercept reported on October 31 that US officials were submitting examples of alleged misinformation through a secret Facebook portal for censorship requests. Jean-Pierre said at the time that the White House did not use this portal and it was unclear whether Twitter had similar mechanisms for official requests.

The American Civil Liberties Union has blasted the Facebook portal as a likely violation of Americans’ right to free speech. tweet“The First Amendment prevents the government from deciding for us what is true or false, online or anywhere.”

https://nypost.com/2022/12/09/white-house-not-involved-with-twitter-moderation-or-musk-transparency-push-jean-pierre/ White House “not involved” in Twitter moderation

JACLYN DIAZ

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