The ‘Twitter Files’ part 4 dropped on Saturday night, revealing how the platform’s senior executive Yoel Roth single-handedly pushed for the permanent ban of former President Donald Trump after he incited the January 6 Capitol riots.
There was a time when Twitter had decided against banning Trump citing its public policy which included regulations for world leaders without exceptions. Back in 2018, Twitter wrote, “Blocking a world leader from Twitter would hide important info… [and] hamper necessary discussion around their words and actions.”
However, all of that changed after the results of the 2020 US election were declared which were in favor of President Joe Biden. Trump, at the time, questioned the very legitimacy of the nation’s voting process and refused to concede, which ultimately led his super-charged supporters to storm the Capitol building in January 2021, with the hopes of overturning the outcome of the election.
Soon after, Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter, started facing calls from high-profile individuals like former First Lady Michelle Obama to remove Trump from Twitter. Since Dorsey was on vacation at the time, he put the responsibility of handling the situation on senior executives Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Global Head of Trust and Safety, and Vijaya Gadde, Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust in the company.
Who is Yoel Roth?
Yoel Roth led Twitter’s team of policymakers, threat investigators, data analysts, and operations specialists, who were responsible for developing, maintaining, and enforcing the platform’s user, content, and security policies, before Elon Musk took over the company.
According to his linkedIn profile, Yoel received his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. “His research and teaching focused on understanding how policy, governance, and code influence the types of communities that are able to safely and securely form online — and how the choices of developers, designers, and policymakers can systematically push certain types of identities and communities to the digital margins,” his bio says.
In August 2019, he married his husband in the San Francisco City Hall.
According to the latest version of the Twitter files, Roth decided to take matters into his own hands regarding Trump’s ban even though Dorsey initially told him and the staff that Twitter needs to remain consistent in its policies, including the right of users to return to the platform after a temporary suspension
On January 7, 2021, Roth wrote in a DM to his colleagues, “GUESS WHAT. Jack just approved repeat offender for civic integrity.”
The new proposed system was where five violations (“strikes”) would result in permanent suspension.
When his colleague asked him if that meant Trump could be banned, Roth disappointed replied, “Trump continues to just have his one strike (remaining).”
On January 8, Twitter announces a permanent ban on Trump due to the “risk of further incitement of violence.”