Gadde in soup for blocking damning report against Biden’s son on Twitter during US polls

New Delhi | Updated: 03 December, 2022 1:06 pm IST

Former top Twitter lawyer Vijaya Gadde, who has been accused of suppressing conservative voices in India and the US, instrumental in censoring the Hunter Biden laptop scoop on the microblogging platform, reveals an explosive Twitter thread endorsed by CEO Elon Musk.

In October 2020, Indian-American Gadde along with a small group of senior Twitter executives decided to label The New York Post’s news report on Hunter as “hacked material” without any evidence and without the knowledge of then-Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey, according to independent journalist Matt Taibbi.

On Saturday, Taibbi wrote a long Twitter thread titled “THE TWITTER FILES”, which was retweeted by the social media company’s current chief Elon Musk.

According to The Post’s report, Hunter Biden helped his employer – a Ukrainian energy firm – in a court case against the company. He introduced a top company executive to his then-US vice president father Joe Biden who pressurised the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor who was probing the company in 2015.  During the last presidential elections, senior Biden denied involving his son Hunter in his foreign dealings.

To suppress the news report, “Twitter took extraordinary steps”, removing links and posting warnings that it may be unsafe, according to the journalist who attached Twitter’s internal documents to back his claims.

“They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography,” he wrote.

The coterie of Twitter executives led by Gadde went to the extent of locking then-White House Spokeswoman Kaleigh McEnany out of her account for tweeting about the story.

Read also: Swacch Twitter Abhiyaan: Musk Fires ‘Anti-India’ Parag, Gadde

“The decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role,” reads one of the tweets in the thread.

A former Twitter employee told Taibbi that the decision to label The Post report as “hacked material” was “the excuse but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold.”

“But no one had the guts to reverse it.”

As per the thread, there was a huge tension between the Twitter policy team and the communication team. As the confusion and tensions rose, Twitter’s former policy communications official Trenton Kennedy wrote, “I’m struggling to understand the policy basis for marking this as unsafe.”

“Can we truthfully claim that this is part of the policy?” wrote the former vice president of global communications Brandon Borrman.

By this point, “everyone knew this was f**ked”, said a former Twitter employee.

Earlier, Gadde was accused by many in India of promoting Leftists views on Twitter and suppressing content supporting the right wing.

“Thread confirms what was known: Under @vijaya regime, @Twitter decided who gets to say what. Twitter was a #LeLi ideological instrument to suppress politically inconvenient voices. Twitter influenced US elections brazenly; they’d have sought to do so in India too,” Kanchan Gupta, senior adviser to the ministry of information & broadcasting wrote about the latest revelations.

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