Matt Taibbi leaves Twitter after Musk changes Substack Notes


twitter files

April 7, 2023 | 20:43

“Twitter Files”[ads1]; journalist Matt Taibbi announced Friday that he is reluctantly leaving the social media platform after CEO Elon Musk’s latest changes have made it “useless” to him.

Taibbi was one of a handful of journalists Musk gave access to Twitter’s internal communications last year after he bought the social media giant, revealing how the company collaborated with government agencies to censor and suppress information and news — including The Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden laptop scoop in before the 2020 election.

As a condition of his insider access, Taibbi agreed to publish his reporting live via long Twitter threads. However, Taibbi and fellow reporter Bari Weiss both posted their reports on Substack, which allows writers to share their stories with paid subscribers, Mediaite reported.

After Substack announced Notes, a new competing feature that allows short-form posts similar to a tweet, Twitter retaliated by blocking the ability to share links or even embed tweets in Substack posts, according to the outlet.

In a post titled “The Craziest Friday Ever,” Taibbi explained why he left Twitter, writing that Musk’s platform views Substack Notes as “a hostile rival.”

Taibbi said he is leaving Twitter after the company prevented Substack users from sharing Twitter links on the platform.

He said the move will likely “come with a price in terms of future Twitter Files reports.”

“Earlier this afternoon I learned that Substack links were blocked on Twitter. Since being able to share my articles is a main reason I use Twitter, I was alarmed and asked what was going on,” Taibbi tweeted.

“It turns out that Twitter is upset about the new Substack Notes feature, which they see as a hostile rival. When I asked how to promote my work, I was given the option to post my articles on Twitter instead of Substack , the former Rolling Stone journalist continued.

“Not much excitement there; I’m staying at Substack. You have all been good to me, as has the management of this company. Starting next week, I will be using the new Substack Notes feature (which you all have access to) instead of Twitter, a decision that will apparently come with a price in terms of future Twitter Files reports,” Taibbi wrote.

“It was definitely worth it, and I’ll always be grateful to those who gave me the chance to work on that story, but man, this is a crazy planet,” he concluded.

Musk tapped Taibbi as one of a handful of journalists to report on internal communications at Twitter before he took over.

Taibbi released the first of several “Twitter Files” reports in December 2022, revealing the chaos and confusion behind closed doors after a small group of top executives made the decision to label The Post’s Hunter Biden story “hacked material,” despite for some evidence.

The decision to censor The Post’s story was made “at the highest levels of the company,” according to Taibbi, but without then-CEO Jack Dorsey’s involvement. Emails and comments from former Twitter employees reviewed by the reporter showed that “everyone knew” the social media giant’s suppression of the story “was f–ing sad.”

While still CEO, Dorsey admitted during a March 2021 congressional hearing on misinformation and social media that blocking The Post’s report was a “total mistake.”

The second round of Twitter files, published in a thread days later by fellow reporter Bari Weiss, described how the social media company secretly “shadow-banned” a number of far-right users.

Taibbi then reported how Twitter decided to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform after the Capitol uprising on January 6, 2021, while senior officials maintained contact with a number of government agencies about the decision.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee last month, Taibbi accused the media of colluding with the government.

Later information revealed that employees and senior executives pushed for earlier Trump’s removal from the site despite the company’s monitors finding no violations in the ex-president’s tweets.

In another bombshell report, Taibbi also revealed that the CIA had been involved in Twitter’s content moderation for years.

Internal communications revealed that the FBI’s Elvis Chan, highlighted in other “Twitter Files” releases, asked company executives to “invite an OGA” — or Other Government Agency, which usually means the CIA — to an upcoming conference.

Taibbi reported that “ordinary meeting[s] from the multi-agency Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF)” – attended by Twitter and “almost every major technology firm [including] Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest, and many others” — had “FBI personnel, and — almost always — one or two participants labeled ‘OGA'” to discuss foreign matters.

Through the FITF, US intelligence tasked Twitter analysts with painstaking investigations of domestic Twitter accounts alleged to have nefarious foreign connections, the documents reveal – increasing as the 2020 presidential election approached but continuing through 2022.

Musk publicly asked for full disclosure about why Twitter decided to block the Post’s bombshell report about President Biden’s son Hunter.

Twitter content monitors analyzed users’ IP data, phone numbers and even weighed whether usernames were “Russian-sounding” to corroborate the authorities’ allegations — but often failed to do so.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee last month, Taibbi accused the mainstream media of being “an arm of a state-sponsored thought police system,” creating “a form of digital McCarthyism.”

“We learned that Twitter, Facebook, Google and other companies developed a formal system to accommodate moderation requests from every corner of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA,” he said .

On the same day he testified, an IRS agent visited Taibbi’s home in New Jersey.

Taibbi said the agent who visited left a note instructing him to call the tax office four days later. When he did, an IRS agent allegedly told him that his 2018 and 2021 returns had been rejected due to concerns about identity theft.

An IRS agent visited Taibbi’s New Jersey home the same day he testified in Washington.

Taibbi reportedly provided the House Judiciary Committee with documents showing his 2018 tax return was approved electronically, and said the March intervention was the first time in more than four years he was told it was rejected.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Monday demanded that the IRS hand over all documents related to the visit by April 10, including “[a]ll documents and communications between or among the tax authorities, the Ministry of Finance and any other entity that refers to or relates to Matthew Taibbi.”

It is unclear whether Taibbi will continue to publish “Twitter Files” reports after he leaves the platform, where he has 1.8 million followers.

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