Twitter and Tesla CEO Elon Musk released details about what led the tech major to censor the Hunter Biden story in the final weeks of the 2020 presidential election. After a long delay, Musk shared a Twitter thread from Substack journalist Matt Taibbi, who posted a lengthy thread about what had happened behind the scenes on Twitter.
Taibbi wrote, “Some of the first tools for controlling speech were designed to combat the likes of spam and financial fraudsters. Slowly, over time, Twitter staff and executives began to find more and more uses for these tools. Outsiders began petitioning the company to manipulate speech as well: first a little, then more often, then constantly.”
“Both parties had access to these tools. For instance, in 2020, requests from both the Trump White House and the Biden campaign were received and honored. However… This system wasn’t balanced,” he added.
Who is Matt Taibbi?
Matt Taibbi, full name Matthew Colin Taibbi, is an American author, journalist, and podcaster. He has reported on finance, media, politics, and sports. He is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone and winner of the 2007 National Award for Columns and Commentary. Taibbi is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Divide, Griftopia, and The Great Derangement.
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He was born on March 2, 1970, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States. His father, Mike Taibbi, is an NBC television reporter of mixed Filipino and Native Hawaiian descent who was adopted by an Italian couple. He grew up in Boston and attended Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts. He went to New York University, but transferred after his freshman year to Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, and graduated in 1992. Taibbi also lived in Russia for a year and studied at Leningrad State Polytechnic Institute in Saint Petersburg.
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Taibbi is married to Jeanne, a family physician. The couple has three children. In 2009, he won a Sidney Award for his article “The Great American Bubble Machine”.
In the early 1990s, Taibbi moved to Tashkent Uzbekistan, where he started selling news articles more regularly. He was deported in 1992 for writing an article for the Associated Press (AP) that was critical of President Islam Karimov. In the mid-1990s, he lived in Mongolia, where he played professional basketball in the Mongolian Basketball Association (MBA) and also hosted a radio show.
In 2002, he returned to the US to start the satirical bi-weekly The Beast in Buffalo, New York. He contributed as a freelancer for The Nation, Playboy and New York Press, Rolling Stone, and New York Sports Express.
Taibbi is known for his reporting in the wake of the 2008 Subprime Mortgage Crisis and the subsequent Great Recession. In August 2019, he launched a political podcast co-hosted with Katie Halper called Useful Idiots. In April 2020, Taibbi announced he would publish his online writing independently through the e-mail newsletter service Substack.