Did ‘every conspiracy theory’ about Twitter turn out to be… true?

The internal company documents offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the federal agencies distorted the public debate one of the world’s largest social media platforms. 


CORRECTION: This article originally described Nostr as a “blockchain-based social media site.” Nostr is an open protocol that allows users to transmit a post over a decentralized network of relays using cryptographic keys.

The so-called Twitter Files, written by a group of independent journalists given access to internal company documents, offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse at how the federal government shaped the flow of information on one of the world’s largest social media platforms. 

Some tech pundits say that the Twitter Files contain no secrets: they knew about the thousands of takedown requests the company receives every month from law enforcement agencies and the courts, or they had already opined about the immense challenges of content moderation. However, the Twitter Files have brought important new information to light. They show that the company stifled debate over important policy issues by shadowbanning certain accounts for no good reason and then misleading the public. They show that Twitter was routinely strongarmed by the White House and the FBI into complying with frivolous takedown requests. And they provide evidence that the intelligence community likely influenced the decision to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story during Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

“Almost every conspiracy theory that people had about Twitter turned out to be true,” Elon Musk said on the All-In Podcast in late December. “Is there a conspiracy theory about Twitter that didn’t turn out to be true?”

Conspiracy theorists are often sloppy with the facts and exaggerate what actually happened. But the information brought to light by the Twitter Files should be alarming to anyone who cares about free speech and a free society. Is the government meddling similarly with YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Google search? How can we prevent the internet from becoming a centralized apparatus through which state actors shape and censor public debate? Here are three major takeaways from the Twitter Files:

#1 Twitter distorted the conversation and misled the public

Twitter had a system of “whitelists” that allowed its algorithms and human moderators to turn engagement dials up and down based on what a user said. It used this power to limit the ability of certain groups and individuals to reach an audience, including conservative commentator Dan Bongino, Stanford economist and medical school professor Jay Bhattacharya, mRNA vaccine critic Alex Berenson, and the Libs of TikTok account.

#2 The government is secretly policing speech.

The most troubling thing about the Berenson de-platforming isn’t Twitter’s decision per se, but whether it made that decision freely. Was it done at the behest of the federal government? The Twitter files provide circumstantial evidence that the White House played a role.

#3 Twitter permitted covert state propaganda on its platform.

The U.S. ran sock-puppet accounts on Twitter and then may have tried to shut them down secretly when it looked like it was caught in the act. 

Produced by Zach Weissmueller; edited by Regan Taylor; sound editing by John Osterhoudt. 

Photo credits: PIERRE VILLARD/SIPA/Newscom; Adrien Fillon/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Al Drago – Pool via CNP/SIPA/Newscom; Alisdare Hickson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; CelebrityHomePhotos/Newscom; Daniel Oberhaus, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Dominick Sokotoff/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Dylan Stewart/Image of Sport/Newscom; Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; I, Aude, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Image of Sport/Newscom; imageBROKER/Markus Mainka/Newscom; Jarek Tuszyński / CC-BY-SA-3.0 & GDFL, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Kyodo/Newscom; Kris Tripplaar/Sipa USA/Newscom; Lordalpha1, CC BY 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons; LiPo Ching/TNS/Newscom; Michael Ho Wai Lee/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom ;Ministério Das Comunicações, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; New Media Daysderivative work: — Cirt, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Oliver Contreras – Pool via CNP/picture alliance / Consolidated News Photos/Newscom; Paul E Boucher/ZUMA Press/Newscom; picture alliance / Frank Duenzl/Newscom; Ron Sachs/picture alliance / Consolidated News Photos/Newscom; Ser Amantio di Nicolao, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Tesla Owners Club Belgium, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom; Whoisjohngalt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons; Yichuan Cao/Sipa USA/Newscom; ZUMAPRESS/Newscom 

Music Credits: “Fleeting Wave,” by Palm Blue via Artlist; “Quiet Pull,” by Tamuz Dekel via Artlist; “Ripples,” Tamuz Dekel via Artlist; “Particles,” by Nobou via Artlist; “From Above,” by Dan Mayo via Artlist

Written by ReasonTV

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  1. I've got Hunter's laptop data dump. Doesn't look like Russian fabrications to me. Seen the dudes cock and him smoking crack – that's not controversial, anyone can grab the torrent. Whether it matters is another issue. What does matter is that it was suppressed during an election. I'm not a fan of Trump in particular, but I am a fan of government keeping their dick far away from The People's internet.

  2. It's not that there was little evidence Russia created or hacked the laptop, there was zero evidence of it. Stop prettying up the language of the crimes of govt. and cover ups of those crimes. Like it's really no big deal, when in fact these are all big things. Twitter was a defacto arm of the govt., not a private company.

  3. I’m completely flawed by the people who still refuse to believe any of this. Even this information (these actual facts) is getting censored. Only appearing on certain platforms. I haven’t seen a single MSM outlet ( Fox News doesn’t count in this instance) covering this with the questioning it deserves. The responses on Elons tweets, divulging this, still talk about him as a conspiracy theorist… PS…need to say I’m left leaning so not coming from this as a right winger.

  4. at 2:32 a edit was put in after he asked if Twitter shadow bans republicans it was cut to have him say no. that's sketchy. why not let us hear his actual full response of the question instead of editing it.

    edit: went back to look at the original video and saw that all he did was answer the question the way it was portrayed on here but the way you have it edited to make it look like his answer could have been edited from a different response makes it look not genuine

    I'm just glad I never set up a Twitter what a shitty place it always was

  5. The worst thing is that reason keeps saying that free speech will result in untruths being told. Ignoring that is exactly what the government has been up to. They are the ones spreading the most misinformation to the greatest number of people, and actually being taken seriously.

    The alternatives are not free speech with misinformation or censorship with correct information. It is whether Americans are allowed to tell the truth or not.

    Get it right.

  6. I'd be elon musk level rich if I had a fuckin dime for every dbag on social media that called me a conspiracy theorist, cult member, skitzo or other derogatory term for pointing out what we know now is an objective fact. Don't let the npc's steer you in the wrong direction.

  7. Conspiracy theory is just a word used to badmouth spoilers, and those who constantly spew them. ;3
    TBF, I wasn't spoiled. Anyone with 2 brain cells to rub together know that big companies run the goobernment, and that the goobernment uses them to bypass their own constitutional restrictions.

  8. As far as I notice, all conspirators turn out to be true. Sure.
    While the average ppl delays to get there, the 15 % of all people are intuitive. That is it.
    They don’t deduce anything. Intuition just make them KNOW about the thing – proves are not needed bc this is downloaded in your brain by who knows who or what. The thing is that this download is downloaded to many people and globally when the subject is global. Period.

  9. If I was a propaganda minister that valued free speech, I would be clowning anti-vaxers and making them look like light-hearted fools.
    Taking them seriously only legitimizes them.
    Only reason no one took the other vax stuff seriously, was because the anti-vaxers back then looked like morons.

    If the federal government legitimizes them, the situation is only gonna get worse.

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