By | January 11, 2023
"Twitter Files" journalist Matt Taibbi leaves platform after Musk's changes over "hostile rival" Substack Notes


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April 7, 2023 | 20:43

“Twitter Files” journalist Matt Taibbi announced Friday that he is reluctantly leaving the social media platform after CEO Elon Musk’s latest changes have made it “unusable” for him.

Taibbi was one of a handful of reporters Musk granted access to Twitter’s internal communications last year after he bought the social media giant, revealing how the company collaborated with government agencies to censor and suppress information and news — including The Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden laptop scoop ahead of the 2020 election.

As a condition of his insider access, Taibbi agreed to release his reporting live via lengthy Twitter threads. But Taibbi and fellow reporter Bari Weiss both published their reports on Substack, which allows writers to share their stories with paid subscribers, Mediaite reported.

After Substack announced Notes, a new competing feature that allows short-form posts similar to a tweet, Twitter responded by blocking the ability to share links or even embed tweets in Substack posts, according to the outlet.

In a post titled “The craziest Friday ever,” Taibbi explained why he left Twitter, writing that Musk’s platform sees Substack Notes as “a hostile rival.”

Taibbi said he is leaving Twitter after the company blocked Substack users from sharing Twitter links on the platform.

He said the move will likely “come with a price in terms of future Twitter Files reports.”

“Earlier this afternoon I learned that Substack links were blocked on Twitter. Being able to share my articles is the main reason I use Twitter, I was concerned and asked what was going on,” Taibbi tweeted.

“It turns out that Twitter is upset about the new Substack Notes feature, which they see as a hostile rival. When I asked how to promote my work, I was given the option to post my articles on Twitter instead of Substack,” it continued former Rolling Stone journalist.

“Not much excitement there; I live on Substack. You all have been amazing to me as well as the management of this company. Starting next week, I will be using the new Substack Notes feature (which you will all have access to) instead of Twitter, a decision that will apparently come with a price in terms of future Twitter Files reports,” Taibbi wrote .

“It was absolutely worth it and I will always be grateful to those who gave me the chance to work on that story, but man is a crazy planet,” he concluded.

Musk singled out Taibbi as one of a handful of reporters to report on internal communications at Twitter before he took over.

Taibbi released the first of several “Twitter Files” reports in December 2022, revealing the chaos and confusion behind closed doors after a small group of top executives made the decision to label The Post’s Hunter Biden story “hacked material,” despite all the evidence.

The decision to censor The Post’s story was made “at the highest level of the company,” according to Taibbi, but without then-CEO Jack Dorsey’s involvement. Emails and comments from former Twitter employees reviewed by the journalist showed that “everyone knew” that the social media giant’s suppression of the story “was f—ing bad.”

While still CEO, Dorsey admitted during a March 2021 congressional hearing on disinformation and social media that it blocked The Post’s report was a “total mistake”.

The second batch of Twitter files, posted in a thread days later by fellow reporter Bari Weiss, described how the social media company secretly “shadow banned” a number of far-right users.

Taibbi then reported how Twitter decided to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform after the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, while senior officials were in contact with many government agencies regarding the decision.

Testifying before parliament’s justice committee last month, Taibbi accused the media of colluding with the government.

Later information showed that staff and top managers pushed for earlier Trump’s impeachment from the site despite the company’s monitors finding no violations in the ex-president’s tweets.

In another bombshell report, Taibbi also revealed that the CIA had been involved in Twitter’s content moderation for years.

Internal communications revealed that the FBI’s Elvis Chan, who was highlighted in other “Twitter Files” editionsasked business leaders to “invite an OGA” — or Other Government Agency, which usually means the CIA — to an upcoming conference.

Taibbi reported that “ordinary meeting[s] from the multi-agency Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF)” — attended by Twitter and “almost every major tech company [including] Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest and many others” — had “FBI personnel and — almost always — one or two attendees labeled “OGA” to discuss foreign affairs.

Through the FITF, the U.S. intelligence agency tasked Twitter analysts with painstaking investigations into domestic Twitter accounts alleged to have nefarious foreign connections, the documents show — which increased as the 2020 presidential election approached but continued into 2022.

Musk publicly called for full disclosure about why Twitter decided to block the Post’s bombshell report about President Biden’s son Hunter.

Twitter content monitors analyzed users’ IP data, phone numbers and even weighed whether usernames were “Russian-sounding” to corroborate the government’s allegations — but often failed to do so.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee last month, Taibbi accused the mainstream media of being “an arm of a state-sponsored thought police system.” creating “a form of digital McCarthyism.”

“We learned that Twitter, Facebook, Google and other companies developed a formal system to receive moderate ‘requests’ from all corners of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA ,” he said.

The same day he testified, an The IRS agent visited Taibbi’s home in New Jersey.

Taibbi said the agent who visited left a note instructing him to call the tax office four days later. When he did, an IRS agent reportedly told him that his returns for 2018 and 2021 had been rejected due to concerns about identity theft.

An IRS agent visited Taibbi’s home in New Jersey the same day he testified in Washington.

Taibbi reportedly gave the parliament’s justice committee documents showing his 2018 tax return was approved electronically and said the March intervention was the first time in more than four years he was told it was rejected.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Monday demanded that the IRS turn over all documents related to the visit no later than April 10Including “[a]All documents and communications between or between the IRS, the Treasury Department and any other executive entity that refer to or relate to Matthew Taibbi.”

It is unclear whether Taibbi will continue to publish “Twitter Files” reports after his departure from the platform, where he has 1.8 million followers.

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