Twitter Executive Pressured To Ban Matt Gaetz

After the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots, Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth, pushed the company to ban Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL). According to Twitter’s internal documents published by author Michael Shellenberger Friday, an employee refused to follow the company’s policies despite being told it did not align.

Roth received a message from an employee around noon on Jan. 7, 2021, asking, “What’s the latest on Antifa claims? A tweet by Gaetz on Jan. 6, 2021, claimed Antifa had infiltrated Trump protesters on the way into the Capitol, and Shellenberger said another employee yelled that Gaetz should be banned from the other room. Roth responded that Twitter employees were “working on that.”

According to Shellenberger’s messages, Roth requested agreement from the unnamed employee before continuing. Roth tried to have the tweet treated as a safety hazard and thought the line for removal would be a conspiracy that incites violence. Then-head of Legal, Policy and Trust, Vijaya Gadde, agreed with the direction. Despite internal discussions, Gaetz’s account was never banned.

On June 1 2021, Gaetz tweeted, “Now that we clearly see Antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do in the Middle East?” He received a public-interest label for glorifying violence. Twitter users could not share, like, or comment on that tweet but could quote it. “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” according to the label. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”