Former Twitter employee: Twitter considered new content restrictions after Trump told the Proud Boys to ‘step back and hold on hold’

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Trump’s comment to the Proud Boys came during a presidential debate in 2020, after Joe Biden called on Trump to condemn the group. “Proud Boys, stand back and stay away,” Trump said, adding that “someone has to do something about Antifa and the left because it’s not a right-wing problem, it’s is a left”.
the old Twitter (TWTR) The employee, who was on the company’s content moderation team through 2020 and 2021, according to the committee, said their “concern was that the former president, for the first time apparently, was speaking directly to extremist organizations and gave them direction,” according to an interview that aired during the House committee hearing on Tuesday. Twitter didn’t end up enforcing the policy — the details of which weren’t shared at the hearing — following Trump’s comment, the employee said.

In their interview with the committee, the Twitter employee said that while the company was concerned that Trump was using the platform to talk to people who could incite violence, Twitter “appreciated knowing that he also acted as the former’s favorite and most used service”. President and I liked having that kind of power.”

“If former President Donald Trump was another Twitter user, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago,” the employee said.

“We are lucid about our role in the broader news ecosystem in regards to the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol, and as we continue to examine how we can improve at Looking forward, the fact remains that we have taken unprecedented action and invested significant resources to prepare for and respond to the threats that have emerged in the 2020 U.S. election,” said the vice president of public policy at Twitter for the Americas, Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, in a statement, adding that the company was engaging directly with the House committee.

Herrera-Flanigan added that Twitter “deployed numerous policy interventions and products to protect the public conversation” before and after the 2020 election, and said that on January 6 the company “leveraged the systems we had built before the election to respond to the unprecedented attack in real time.”

Twitter designated the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers as violent extremist groups in July 2018 and September 2020, respectively, and says it has permanently suspended accounts associated with the groups in accordance with its policy prohibiting violent organizations, according to a company spokesperson. The spokesperson added that many groups and individuals responsible for organizing the January 6 uprising were suspended from Twitter before the attack.

Among its efforts after the 2020 election, Twitter teams in December 2020 began observing tweets about a large protest in Washington, D.C., scheduled for January 6, and began monitoring related content, taking action. against electoral disinformation, references to the “last stand” and some direct violent threats, according to the company.

As for Trump, after saying in 2019 that he would place a disclaimer on tweets from world leaders who violate his rules but are in the “public interest”, Twitter in May 2020 began qualifying certain tweets. of the then president as “potentially misleading”. in order to provide context around his remarks. Following the Jan. 6 uprising, Twitter suspended and then permanently banned Trump’s account, citing “risk of incitement to violence.”

But in their testimony, the Twitter employee suggested the company should have done more before the attack. On the night of January 5, 2021, the employee said he “sent a Slack message to someone who said something like ‘when people shoot each other tomorrow I’ll try to rest knowing we tried “…I don’t know if I slept that night.”

The employee continued, “For months I’ve been pleading, anticipating and trying to make it clear that if…we didn’t intervene in what I saw happening, people were going to die. And on the 5th january i didn’t realize no intervention was coming even if i tried to create one or implement one there was nothing and we were at the mercy of a violent mob that was locked up and loaded.”



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