White House plans to remain in Twitter’s ‘rougher neighbourhood’


A blue verification check on the Twitter page of US President Joe Biden on Nov 7, 2022. Klain’s remarks were the strongest indication yet that the White House would remain on Twitter despite policies implemented under new owner Elon Musk, who has rolled back content moderation policies and proposed charging users for verification checkmarks. — Bloomberg

The White House will continue to use Twitter Inc to communicate with voters as long as it remains a “viable platform”, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said on Dec 5.

“I think there’s no doubt that Twitter is a rougher neighbourhood than it was a month ago,” Klain said at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Summit.

The White House, however, has an obligation to “to try to communicate where we can, how we can, and reach as many people as we can”, Klain continued. “And Twitter remains a very powerful platform for doing that. It’s a good way to get our position and message out to lots of people who we wouldn’t reach otherwise.”

Klain’s remarks were the strongest indication yet that the White House would remain on Twitter despite policies implemented under new owner Elon Musk, who has rolled back content moderation policies and proposed charging users for verification checkmarks.

Musk on Dec 2 also released emails about the blocking of news stories critical of the president’s son, Hunter Biden before the 2020 election – a move the White House described as a “distraction” from the rise of hate speech on the platform.

“Look what is happening, frankly it’s not healthy, it won’t do anything to help a single American improve their lives,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday. “We see it as an interesting coincidence, and it’s a distraction.”

Musk touted the publication of what writer Matt Taibbi said were executives’ emails, in which they debated the controversial decision to restrict access in October 2020 to a New York Post article that contained allegations about Hunter Biden. The billionaire Twitter owner has accused the company’s previous leadership team of opposing free speech, while claiming he has championed it.

Jean-Pierre said the document trove was “full of old news” and pointed out that it was released at the same time the social network is “facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate and antisemitism on their platform, and how they’re letting it happen”.

Researchers have found that slurs against Black Americans have appeared more than twice as often on Twitter under Musk’s stewardship as they did previously and antisemitic posts have increased more than 61%, according to a New York Times report.

The rapper Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, was suspended from Twitter last week after he posted an image of a swastika inside a Star of David. Musk said the tweet violated Twitter’s policy against inciting violence. Ye had been allowed back on the site after it restricted his account in October in response to another antisemitic tweet.

Twitter, which no longer has a communications team, didn’t respond to a request sent to a general press email. – Bloomberg

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!
   

Next In Tech News

Charting a new course with the country's data
Opinion: Teens carry a threat to mental health in their pockets
Like Terminator’s T-1000, this robot liquefies before returning to its original form
This app offers travellers on the London Underground less-polluted routes
Find out if your personal data has fallen into the wrong hands online
FTX founder Bankman-Fried objects to tighter bail, says prosecutors 'sandbagged' him
As they enter a 4th generation, are foldable phones finally mature?
This free tool lets you extract text from images
Google Stadia is dead, but its controllers live on
Twitter says users will be able to appeal account suspension

Others Also Read