Musk says Twitter lawyer fired amid Hunter Biden laptop clash

Elon Musk accuses the director of possibly withholding information about Twitter’s handling of the Hunter Biden laptop story.

Elon Musk said he had “left” Twitter’s deputy general counsel over concerns that the senior executive was trying to suppress information about the social media platform’s handling of the Hunter Biden laptop controversy.

Musk, who bought Twitter for $44 billion last month, said in a tweet Tuesday that he was pushing out James Baker, the FBI’s top attorney, before joining the social media giant in 2020 because of his “possible role in suppressing information that important for public dialogue”. ”.

Musk said Baker, who played a key role in the FBI’s investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, had given an “unconvincing” explanation for his actions when confronted.

Musk’s announcement came shortly before independent journalist Matt Taibbi wrote on Twitter that the planned release of new internal files related to Twitter’s handling of the Hunter Biden laptop story had been delayed due to Baker’s “screening” of the documents without management approval.

Taibbi, a former Rolling Stone journalist who now writes on Substack, said he and fellow independent journalist Bari Weiss had encountered “obstacles” when searching internal documents Musk had shared with them. Taibbi said he and Weiss had resumed reviewing the documents, dubbed the “Twitter Files,” and were preparing to publish the next installment.

Al Jazeera has reached out to Baker for comment on Twitter and Linkedin.

Taibbi released internal correspondence from October 2020 on Friday detailing how Twitter executives made the decision to limit sharing of a New York Post article describing material found on a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, the son of the American President Joe Biden.

The communication shows top Twitter buyers discussing — and sometimes disagreeing — whether and how the article, which alleges that Hunter Biden was acting on behalf of his father in his business dealings in Ukraine and China, should be restricted.

Twitter executives ultimately decided that the article should be limited according to their policy against hacked material, amid claims from former US intelligence officials that the laptop story bore the hallmarks of Russian disinformation, though no evidence of Russian involvement was ever presented.

The documents released Friday also claim to show correspondence from the Biden campaign requesting that Twitter remove certain tweets — including alleged nude photos of Hunter Biden shared without permission — but do not indicate that the Biden team, law enforcement or a government agency specifically requested the suppression of the New York Post article.

Taibbi’s publication of the files on Friday provoked a polarized response, with media figures and politicians on the right touting the documents as confirming Twitter’s liberal bias and hostility to free speech, while many on the left described it as a nun story that showed the platform’s good faith efforts to grapple with difficult moderation decisions.

Some former Twitter executives pointed to the release of the documents, which include names and email addresses, as the latest example of Musk’s irresponsible leadership of the company, with Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of trust and security, saying the relocation of employees “at risk”.

Twitter’s decision to limit the New York Post article weeks after the 2020 presidential election sparked a heated debate over the role of social media in managing politically sensitive information, with conservatives accusing the platform of favoritism towards the campaign of then-candidate Biden.

Media outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post and CBS later reported that forensic analysis showed that thousands of documents, including material published by the New York Post, were genuine.

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later told a congressional hearing about misinformation and social media that he thought the platform’s handling of the article was a “total mistake.”

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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