Yoel Roth, the former head of trust and safety at Twitter who resigned from his post last month, acknowledged the company erred in October 2020 by attempting to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story — just weeks before that year's presidential election, pitting Joe Biden against then-President Donald Trump.
In a Wednesday interview with independent journalist Kara Swisher, Roth reasoned Twitter initially had difficulty verifying the New York Post's investigative piece, which revealed many of the components on Hunter Biden's now-infamous laptop.
As a result, given the proximity of that year's presidential election featuring Hunter Biden's father, Twitter opted to censor all mentions of the Post's story on the social platform.
"We didn't know what to believe, we didn't know what was true, there was smoke; and ultimately for me, it didn't reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter," said Roth, who left Twitter shortly after Musk's $44 billion purchase of the platform.
"But it set off every single one of my finely tuned APT28 hack and leak campaign alarm bells. Everything about it looked like a hack and leak," Roth added.
During his interview, Roth repeatedly claimed, despite the "alarm bells" ringing, the story still didn't meet the criteria of social censorship.
"So it was a mistake?" Swisher asked.
"In my opinion, yes," Roth responded.
Among its censoring tactics, Twitter prevented users from sharing links to a prominent long-form story, chronicling Hunter Biden's personal troubles and his controversial business ties in the runup to the 2020 presidential election.
The Roth interview comes on the heels of Musk teasing a public release of all Twitter internal discussions regarding the censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, dating back to 2020.
Musk acknowledged a user tweet last week that read, "raise your hand if you think @Elonmusk should make public all internal discussions" surrounding the censorship of the Post's coverage.
In his response, Musk mused, "This is necessary to restore public trust."
The original Post story from 2020 seemingly connected the dots to Hunter Biden's questionable business dealings with China and Ukraine, covering a time when Joe Biden was vice president to President Barack Obama.
When the Post tweeted a link to the story in October 2020, Twitter suspended its account, claiming the investigative piece violated its rules against "hacked" materials.
Facebook followed a similar path in concealing any sharing of the Post story.
Later on, Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO at the time, posted that "straight blocking of URLs was wrong, and we updated our policy and enforcement to fix."
Even with Dorsey's admission, the Post's official Twitter account remained locked for weeks, while Twitter demanded the Post rescind all tweets connected to the Hunter Biden investigation.
During that time, the majority of mainstream media outlets either suppressed or outright ignored the Post's story on Hunter Biden. Some media companies even chalked it up to so-called "Russian disinformation," just three weeks before a presidential election.
Back in August, Newsmax noted how a Technometrica Institute of Policy and Politics (TIPP) survey revealed 78% of Americans believe Trump would have won the 2020 presidential election — if voters had known the truth about Hunter Biden's laptop, prior to Election Day.
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