White House takes aim at Musk, calls Twitter Files ‘distraction,’ ‘old news’

by mcardinal

Chris Lieberman, FISM News


White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre rejected concerns over new Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s release of the “Twitter Files,” claiming that Musk was using the story to distract from a supposed rise in hate speech on the platform.

“What is happening — it’s frankly, it’s not healthy. It won’t do anything to help a single American improve their lives. And so look, we see this as an interesting, you know, coincidence, and you know, it’s a distraction,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at a press briefing Monday.

Friday evening, journalist Matt Taibbi posted a thread titled “the Twitter Files” detailing how Twitter suppressed the New York Post’s bombshell report on Hunter Biden’s laptop just weeks before the 2020 election under the pretense that the story was based on “hacked materials.” The post included internal communication between Twitter employees showing that they had no evidence that the sources were a product of hacking, but decided to restrict distribution of the story anyway, all without the knowledge of then-CEO Jack Dorsey.

But Jean-Pierre dismissed the report, saying, “We see this as an interesting, or a coincidence, if I may, that he would so haphazardly – Twitter would so haphazardly – push this distraction that is full of old news if you think about it.”

Jean-Pierre then claimed it was Musk who should be questioned, saying, “If you think about it, and at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate, and anti-Semitism on their platform, and how they’re letting it happen.”

Jean-Pierre’s accusation echoes reporting from the New York Times on Friday claiming that hate speech on Twitter has increased under Musk, a charge Musk called, “Utterly false.”

“Hate speech impressions (# of times tweet was viewed) continue to decline, despite significant user growth!” Musk tweeted Friday. “Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of reach. Negativity should & will get less reach than positivity.”

Additionally, Andrea Stroppa, a data analyst working alongside Twitter’s Trust and Safety team, tweeted Saturday that the suspension rate for material related to child sexual abuse and exploitation has nearly doubled under Musk’s leadership.

“If Twitter is now fighting vigorously against child sexual exploitation content, it’s thanks to one person that set it as the #1 priority: Elon Musk. Twitter is now a safer place under Elon’s leadership. And this is just the beginning,” wrote Stroppa.

The Biden administration has frequently criticized Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, with Jean-Pierre previously stating that Biden is “keeping a close eye” on what is happening at the social media platform.

At a press conference last month, Biden suggested an investigation into Musk and Twitter’s connection with the Saudi government, saying, “I think that Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at. Whether or not he is doing anything inappropriate, I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting that it’s worth being looked at.” Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has owned about 4% of Twitter since 2011, making him the second-largest shareholder behind Musk.

Reuters reported on Monday that the Biden administration is also opening an investigation of Musk’s medical device company Neuralink over claims of animal welfare violations in their testing of products.