The press secretary has accused the platform of seeking a ?distraction? from rising ?hate speech?
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has shrugged off Elon Musk's release of 'the Twitter files', calling the disclosure of 2020 pre-election censorship an "interesting coincidence" and accusing the billionaire of allowing hateful speech to surge on his newly acquired social media platform.
Asked at a press briefing on Monday whether the White House found it appropriate that Twitter suppressed news about then-candidate Joe Biden's son, Jean-Pierre sidestepped the question, suggesting that Musk had an ulterior motive for leaking files revealing the company's internal discussions.
"We see this as an interesting coincidence, and it's a distraction," Jean-Pierre told reporters. She claimed that Musk "haphazardly" released the Twitter files, which were a "distraction that is full of old news, if you think about it. And at the same time, Twitter is facing very real and very serious questions about the rising volume of anger, hate and anti-Semitism on their platform, and how they're letting it happen."
The press secretary called the alleged rise in hateful rhetoric on Twitter since Musk completed his $44 billion takeover of the platform in October "very alarming and very dangerous." She added, "What is happening, frankly, it's not healthy. It won't do anything to help a single American improve their lives."
Musk released the files on Friday night through independent journalist Matt Taibbi, showing how Twitter made its decision to censor the New York Post's reporting based on a trove of data from Hunter Biden's abandoned laptop. The reports alleged influence-peddling by the Biden family in Ukraine and China. The laptop also contained photos of the Democrat presidential candidate's son smoking crack and consorting with prostitutes.
Twitter censored the news, citing its "hacked materials" policy, though the data wasn't obtained through hacking and some employees questioned the defensibility of that decision. Long after Joe Biden was elected president, major media outlets confirmed the authenticity of the Hunter Biden emails quoted by the Post. The leak also showed that Twitter deleted tweets at the request of Biden's campaign, though it's unclear whether there was government involvement in the decision to censor the laptop stories.
Musk has denied claims that Twitter has seen a rise in bigoted speech under his watch. The billionaire Tesla CEO said "hate speech impressions," which measure how many times hateful tweets are viewed, have declined over the past month despite user growth.