Dorsey was vacationing in French Polynesia that week, according to the report, and phoned in to meetings, though he also delegated much of the duties handling the situation to senior executives Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Global Head of Trust and Safety, and Vijaya Gadde, head of Legal, Policy and Trust.
The report notes that Twitter’s staff and senior execuitves “were overwhelmingly progressive,” pointing out that in 2018, 2020, and 2022, 96%, 98%, & 99% of Twitter staff’s political donations went to Democrats.
But the bias wass deeper than simply donating to Democrats. Roth tweeted in 2017 that there were “ACTUAL NAZIS IN THE WHITE HOUSE.” And this past April he told a colleague that “his goal ‘is to drive change in the world,’ which is why he decided not to become an academic.”
Dorsey seemed to want to treat Trump no differently than other users. On January 7, he emailed employees that Twitter should remain consistent in its policies, and that meant a right for users to return after temporary suspension. Roth disagreed, and told an employee that “people who care about this … aren’t happy with where we are.”
At about 11:30 a.m. PT, Roth sent a direct message to his colleagues: “GUESS WHAT. Jack just approved repeat offender for civic integrity. The change would enforce a permanent suspension after five violations, or “strikes.”
“Progress!” a member of Roth’s team shot back. “Does this affect our approach to Trump, who I think that we publicly said had one remaining strike? Or does the incitement to violence aspect change that calculus?”.
“Trump continues to have just one strike (remaining),” Roth replied. “This is for everything else.”
“The exchange between Roth and his colleagues makes clear that they had been pushing @jack (Dorsey) for greater restrictions on the speech Twitter allows around elections,” Shellenberger writes.
“Roth’s colleague’s query about ‘incitement to violence’ heavily foreshadows what will happen the following day,” he adds, noting, “On January 8, Twitter announces a permanent ban on Trump due to the ‘risk of further incitement of violence.”
On January 8, the thread notes, Twitter said that its ban of Trump was based “specifically how [Trump’s tweets] are being received & interpreted.” But in 2019 Twitter had said it did “not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent.”
Shellenberger said the only serious concern they were able to find within Twitter over free speech and democracy over banning Trump was from a “junior person” and it was “tucked away in a lower-level Slack channel known as ‘site-integrity-auto.”
“This might be an unpopular opinion but one off ad hoc decisions like this that don’t appear rooted in policy are imho a slippery slope,” the person wrote. “This now appears to be a fiat by an online platform CEO with a global presence that can gate keep speech for the entire world.”