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Former Twitter executive Yoel Roth accidentally tells on Andy Slavitt and the White House
Yoel whines about right-wing pressure on Twitter in a new NYT op-ed. He seems to forget DEMOCRATS have been in power since 2021 - and the worst recent censorship of all came on Covid from the left.
This morning, Yoel Roth, the former head of Twitter’s “trust and safety” (or censorship) unit, offered these stunning words in The New York Times:
It isn’t machine learning models and faceless algorithms behind key content moderation decisions: it’s people. And people can be pressured, intimidated, threatened and extorted.
Exactly, Yoel! I couldn’t agree more. People can be pressured.
That’s why the Biden Administration shouldn’t have relentlessly demanded social media companies suppress users like me who raised questions about the Covid vaccines. And it certainly should not have tied Section 230 liability protection, which as you know is crucial to Twitter’s business (for better or worse) to that censorship.
(Hate censorship? Stand up to it for 20 cents a day.)
Know who also agrees with you, Yoel?
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Ten days ago, three Fifth Circuit judges told the Biden Administration to stop coercing Twitter and other social media companies. Outright threats aren’t always necessary, as the judges noted in their ruling backing a preliminary injunction against senior administration officials:
The officials have engaged in a broad pressure campaign designed to coerce social-media companies into suppressing speakers, viewpoints, and content disfavored by the government.
Thus the judges restricted officials from acting
to coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech.
Sounds good to me! Among the current and former officials subject to the injunction? One Andy Slavitt, the former senior advisor to the Biden Administration’s Covid response team.
Per Twitter’s own internal communications, in a 2021 meeting at the White House, Slavitt asked “one really tough question about why Alex Berenson hasn’t been kicked off the platform.”
Hey, hey, Andy was just asking questions. (Can you step out of your car, sir? I really need you to step out. Can you do that for me?)
Now comes Yoel Roth, to explain that from his point of view, the pressure worked:
The success of a strategy aimed at forcing social media companies to reconsider their choices may not require demonstrating actual wrongdoing… maybe you just need to “work the refs”: repeatedly pressure companies into thinking twice before taking actions that could provoke a negative reaction.
(Yo, what’s up?)
Thanks for clearing that up, Yoel.
Except - wait for it - Yoel Roth isn’t worried about the pressure he faced from the left to suppress speech. In his piece, he complained about “lawsuits, congressional hearings, and vicious online attacks.” Guess what and who he forgot to include in that litany?
Yep, the executive branch, the people in the White House who can actually change policy on a daily basis and who have regulatory power over Twitter and its ilk. Maybe that’s because for the last three years, the White House has been run by Democrats.
In his piece, Yoel complains about conservative governments outside the United States who want censorship. But in the United States, where the left is in power, he’s more concerned with Republican efforts to avoid censorship.
So maybe Yoel isn’t concerned with censorship per se? Maybe he’s only concerned when conservatives haved the same chance to “work the refs” as liberals?
Because not even the left can argue that since taking office in January 2021, the Biden White House has not been shy about telling social media companies exactly what it does and and does not want to hear.
Yes, in the end, Yoel’s motto seems to come down to: Censorship for thee, but not for me.
Still, I have to thank him for his words today. Yoel, you can be sure that we’ll let the judge in Berenson v Biden know exactly how you feel about the pressure Twitter has faced!