On January 6th 2021, there was an uncommon event at the U.S. Capitol. The violence in the Capitol persisted for some time, an event the U.S will not allow to just slide under the carpet. The case is still in court and new information is now available. According to a Twitter employee, a series of tweets from ex-President Donald Trump incited violence on the U.S. Capitol. The employee who works on content moderation policies made the declaration to congressional investigators on Tuesday.
According to the anonymous employee, a specific tweet from Trump on December 19th did some damage. In the tweet, the former president asked his followers to join him in “protest” of the 2020 election results. The tweet reads “Be there. Will be wild,”. The anonymous employee claims that the tweet is responsible for the violence in the Capitol that followed. Recall that the unfortunate event had five deaths and over 700 arrests.
“We got derogatory information from OSINT suggesting that some very, very violent individuals were organizing to come to DC … All the red flags went up at that point.”
Twitter was worried about Trump’s tweet
Furthermore, the anonymous employee reveals that Twitter in its entirety was worried about the tweets from Trump. As early as September 2020, the employee claims that Twitter already had its worries about Trump tweets. Recall that back in September 2020 during a presidential debate, Trump passively urged the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group to “stand back and stand by”.
Regarding the September debate statement, here is what the anonymous employee had to say
“My concern was that the former president, for seemingly the first time, was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives … We had not seen that sort of direct communication before, and that concerned me.”
According to the employee, Trump enjoyed some privileges being the president of the U.S. at the time. The employee claims that Twitter refused to ban Trump on time. “If former President Donald Trump were any other user on Twitter, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago,”
Regarding the reluctance of Twitter, the employee claims that Twitter had a good relationship with Trump. “I believe that Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favourite and most used service of the former president,” the employee said, “and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem.”
Twitter was reluctant to ban Trump
However, after the violence in the Capitol, Twitter had no choice but to ban President Trump. Even at that, the company had to wait about 48 hours after the attack before banning him. Of course, there are still some uproars regarding Trump’s eventual ban. Announcing the ban, Twitter claims its action is “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,”. The company cites previous tweets from the president.
In response to the testimony, Trenton Kennedy, Twitter’s spokesperson told The Verge… “We are clear-eyed about our role in the broader information ecosystem in regards to the January 6th attack on the US Capitol.” He continued, “On January 6th, we leveraged the systems we had built leading up to the election to respond to the unprecedented attack in real-time and are committed to iterating on this work in order to address violent extremism in the US and globally.”
However, there are still claims that if the ban did not come, more explicit calls (tweets) would have hit Twitter. Responding to a subpoena, Twitter had to bring out Trump’s tweet calling for a march on the Capitol. “Please arrive early, massive crowds expected,” the tweet reads. “March to the Capitol after.”