Internal documents released by Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, suggest that pressure from former First Lady Michelle Obama led to the platform banning Donald Trump.
One of Musk’s first actions upon acquiring the social media giant was to reinstate the ex-president’s account. Trump was banned from Twitter the day after Mrs. Obama and others demanded the company “permanently” remove him, according to the newest “Twitter Files” installment.
Over the weekend, Musk and journalist Michael Shellenberger released the fourth batch of Twitter documents that show internal communications by the company’s executives between Jan. 6-8, 2021, including and shortly after the riot at the Capitol Building.
Among the files, Shellenberger reported “internal and external pressure,” including from the former first lady, fell onto the company calling for Trump to be banned from using Twitter.
“Now is the time for Silicon Valley companies to stop enabling this monstrous behavior—and go even further than they have already by permanently banning this man from their platforms and putting in place policies to prevent their technologies from being used by the nation’s leaders to fuel insurrection,” the former first lady wrote in a lengthy statement posted to Twitter on Jan. 7.
Michelle then added, “And if we have any hope of improving this nation, now is the time for swift and serious consequences for the failure of leadership that led to yesterday’s shame.”
In addition to the former first lady, the Anti-Defamation League, among several other prominent people and organizations, called for Trump’s ban.
On the morning of Jan. 7, then-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote an email to employees instructing them, as Shellenberger revealed, “to remain consistent in its policies, including the right of users to return to Twitter after a temporary suspension.”
Trump was serving a suspension on the platform at the time.
The files also showed Twitter maintained a policy — called “Public-interest exceptions” — where elected officials were not banned as there was a great public interest in their comments, even if they seemed to violate other policies.
While Trump’s temporary suspension was lifted, this second policy was specifically and intentionally ignored in Trump’s case, Shellenberger reported.
This latest release of internal Twitter documents also revealed that in 2018, 2020, and 2022, 96%, 98%, & 99% of Twitter staff’s political donations went to Democrats.”
After Musk purchased Twitter and took over as its chief executive, Trump’s access to the platform was restored. Trump has yet to resume control of his account, however, and has previously told Fox News Digital that he intends to remain on his social media platform, Truth Social.