- Elon Musk sparred on Twitter with Facebook’s former security chief over “Twitter Files part two.”
- Alex Stamos tweeted “Musk fired the lawyer” who would tell him what happens if non-employees have access to users’ DMs.
- Musk replied that Stamos operates “a propaganda platform,” after he told Musk to be transparent.
Elon Musk and Facebook’s former chief security officer, Alex Stamos, sparred back and forth on Twitter following the platform’s release of “Twitter Files part two.”
On Thursday, conservative columnist Bari Weiss tweeted the latest thread of “files,” an installment about “Twitter’s secret blacklists.” The “investigation” revealed that employees at Twitter “have blacklists, prevent disfavored tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics—all in secret, without informing users,” Weiss tweeted.
Journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted the first part of the “Twitter Files” last week, which Musk described as internal communications that would reveal Twitter tried to censor free speech on the platform.
Weiss’s tweet thread on Thursday showed Twitter’s internal profile of the Libs of TikTok’s account, which Weiss said “rose to this level of scrutiny,” a sidebar that included the account’s direct messages was visible, which drew concern from users on Twitter like Stamos.
Abraham Gutman, a health reporter at The Philadelphia Inquirer, tweeted a screenshot of Weiss’s tweet about Libs of TikTok, and tweeted “.@elonmusk, yes or no — do Weiss and Taibbi have access to users’ DMs? It would be good to get clear explanation about this screen and yes/no answer to this straightforward question.”
Stamos retweeted Gutman’s tweet and said, “Musk fired the lawyer responsible for telling him what happens if Weiss or Taibbi click that button.”
—Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) December 9, 2022
Musk confirmed on Tuesday that he fired Twitter’s deputy general counsel James Baker, “in light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue,” in reference to the first release of the “Twitter Files.”
At the start of Musk’s takeover of Twitter, he fired legal chief Vijaya Gadde, who was behind the social media platform’s decision to ban former president Donald Trump after the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the Capitol.
“Hopefully that button doesn’t actually work for them; Twitter has put a lot of work into internal access controls,” Stamos tweeted about Weiss’s photos. “If those two have been provisioned DM access, I expect that’s, at a minimum, an FTC reportable security incident.”
Weiss also shared photos of computer screens showing the internal-company view of conservative accounts like Dan Bongino and Charlie Kirk, who she claims were targeted by Twitter’s blacklisting and “shadow banning” — the practice of limiting a tweet’s visibility.
But Ella Irwin, the new head of trust and safety at Twitter, clarified in a reply to senior IT and cybersecurity reporter Tom McKay that the screenshots were hers.
“For security purposes, the screenshots requested came from me so we could ensure no PII was exposed,” Irwin tweeted. “We did not give this access to reporters and no, reporters were not accessing user DMs.”
Musk responded that Weiss’s thread “clearly describes, the rules were enforced against the right, but not against the left.” Stamos replied that Musk should “provide the transparency necessary for external groups to verify that statement.”
“You operate a propaganda platform,” Musk tweeted back at Stamos.
Stamos tweeted that he was the target of “a wave of really poorly targeted racist and antisemitic slurs from” Musk’s “posse,” after Musk’s reply.
The first release by Taibbi showed that employees had debated censoring the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop during Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. Twitter has a policy that it doesn’t publish information involved in a hack. When the files were released, some Twitter employees had their personal information shared.