Twitter Files

Musk’s ‘Twitter Files’ offer a glimpse of the raw, complicated, and thankless task of moderation

At its core, Twitter is a platform for exchanging thoughts and ideas. But as the platform has grown, so too have the challenges of moderating it effectively. Recently, we’ve seen several high-profile examples of this task gone wrong. First was the suspension of conservative writer Ben Shapiro after he engaged in a heated argument with alt-right activist Candace Owens. Then, it was Musk’s apparent suspension of lawyer and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after Jones repeatedly called him a pedophile on Twitter. These incidents underscore how important it is for social media platforms to have an effective moderation process. If not, bad actors can take advantage of lax rules and wreak havoc on the platform. So what are the best ways to moderate a platform like Twitter? This article offers a glimpse into the ‘Twitter Files‘—a trove of internal company documents examining how Twitter handles controversial content.

What are ‘Twitter Files’?

Twitter has been around since 2006 and has quickly become one of the most popular forms of communication on the internet. In addition to providing users with a way to communicate, Twitter also allows users to share information in a quick, easy-to-read format. One way that Twitter allows users to share information is through “Twitter Files.”

A “Twitter File” contains all of the tweets from one user. This can be helpful for people who want to study a particular topic or period in history, as they can easily access all of the tweets about that topic or period. Additionally, it can be helpful for people who are looking for specific information. For example, if you are looking for information about a company and its shareholders, you can access the tweets sent by those who have mentioned the company in their tweets.

While “Twitter Files” offers a great deal of convenience, they also come with their fair share of complications. For example, suppose someone sends out multiple Tweets about a related subject but not actually about each other. In that case, it can be challenging to determine which Tweet should be included in the file. Additionally, some Tweets may contain private information that should not be public (for example, personal medical information). As a result, it can be quite a thankless task for those responsible for moderating Twitter Files – constantly sifting through potential violations while trying to keep everything organized and

Why were they released?

The tweets in question date back to 2013 and 2014, before Musk, became the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. They show him responding to angry customers, complaints about his companies, and other issues.

Musk has said that he deleted the tweets because they were “dumb” and not a good reflection of who he is. But some of the things he says in them are returning to haunt him.

For example, one tweet from September 2013 says: “Just want to clarify that my firing ofrored [sic] because of the terrible performance of Model S, not the people or strategy.”

Some interpreted this tweet as meaning that Musk canned someone because they were doing a lousy job rather than because of any technical issues with their product. This could be damaging if it turns out that there were any problems with Model S at the time it was being made.

Another tweet from March 2014 asks someone who had tweeted about their negative experience with an Airbnb reservation: “Do you have screenshots? I would love to see what happened here … sorry for making you wait so long to get your money back.” This implies that Musk was trying to deal with customer complaints himself rather than passing them on to his team members responsible for customer complaints.

The contents of the files


CEO and founder of Tesla, SpaceX, and The Boring Company, Elon Musk, has a reputation for being one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world. However, despite his many successes, Musk is also well known for communicating with his followers on Twitter using various unconventional methods. This includes sending out unannounced product announcements and updates and tweeting about controversial topics.

This week, we can glimpse the moderation process for one of Musk’s more controversial tweets. On July 5th, 2019, he tweeted a screenshot from an email he had received from Twitter regarding one of his tweets. In the email, Twitter stated that they had identified it as potentially violating their policy against hate speech and violent threats. After discussing the issue with their team, they decided to take down the tweet due to its content.

The Tweet in Question

The tweet in question was a screenshot from an email that Musk had received from Twitter regarding one of his tweets. In the email, Twitter stated that they had identified it as potentially violating their policy against hate speech and violent threats. After discussing the issue with their team, they decided to take down the tweet due to its content. The tweet in question read as follows:

“Hi, @elonmusk – We saw your tweet, which violates our policy against hate speech & violent threats. We’ve taken it down for now while we investigate further. Thanks

What does it mean for Tesla?

When Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced earlier this month that he was taking a six-week break from Twitter, some speculated that the move might be related to the recent tumult on the platform. However, new documents released by Musk today offer a rare glimpse into the raw, complicated, and thankless task of moderating Tesla’s more than 5 million followers.

The “Twitter Files” document set forth guidelines for how Musk should handle tweets, including a ban on insults and personal attacks, as well as a prohibition on promoting products or services in a derogatory way. The files also outline ground rules for Musk sharing news or information about Tesla. For example, he can share updates about production or sales figures but not tweet about upcoming product features or changes.

In light of recent controversies like the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon’s partial power loss during testing and reports of Tesla Model 3 assembly line workers sleeping on the job, it’s clear that moderating Twitter is no easy task. But by following these guidelines, it seems like Musk is doing his best to ensure that Tesla’s followers have an enjoyable experience while still keeping his company running smoothly.

Implications for other brands

As Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey testified before Congress last year, the platform has more than 250 million monthly active users. This puts Twitter in a unique position to impact public discourse and help to shape global opinion.

Since its inception, Twitter has been characterized as a microblogging platform that allows people to share brief thoughts on various topics. But while this is still largely true, Twitter’s growth over the past few years has also seen it become an essential source of news and information for many people worldwide.

In light of this, Twitter needs to continue to uphold its commitment to being a platform that is open and transparent with its moderators’ actions. In recent weeks, we have seen how this can be difficult – and sometimes impossible – when some users abuse their privileges on the platform.

In response to these issues, Twitter is releasing “Twitter Files” – documents that provide a glimpse into the raw, complicated, and thankless moderation task. These files include summaries of abusive tweets, reports from our team about questionable or harmful content, and other information that helps us decide what content should be allowed on the platform.

The release of “Twitter Files” also underscores our dedication to being open about our work on behalf of our community and giving them a better understanding of how we make decisions about what content is allowed on the platform. We hope that these documents will help to improve transparency overall across.


Like most people, you probably don’t understand how Twitter’s Trust and Safety team moderates its platform. In the wake of criticism over recent changes to its rules on hate speech and abuse, however, a series of leaked documents from Musk’s “Twitter Files” offers a fascinating look at how difficult it is to police Twitter. The documents obtained by journalist Emily Bell and made available on her website detail the process behind removing tweets from the platform and the challenges that moderators face in dealing with controversial content. Whether or not these changes will appease users remains to be seen, but if nothing else, they provide an exciting glimpse into the inner workings of one of the world’s most popular social networks.

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