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Elon Musk's 'Twitter Files' drop revealed some of the tweets the Biden campaign asked the social app to remove were nude photos of Hunter Biden spread without his consent
Photos and videos of the President's son were already in apparent violation of Twitter's non-consensual nudity policy.
- Internal Twitter emails showed the Biden campaign asked the company to remove posts.
- Some of the posts contained nude photos of Hunter Biden shared without his consent.
- The posts were in violation of Twitter's non-consensual nudity policy and contained no political content.
The newly published "Twitter Files," toted as a bombshell report revealing the inner workings of the platform's content moderation practices, showed the 2020 Biden presidential campaign asked Twitter to remove posts that were already in violation of its revenge porn policy.
Journalist Matt Taibbi, who writes the substack newsletter TK News, on Friday published a thread of tweets containing internal communications from Twitter officials indicating they had received requests from Joe Biden's 2020 presidential campaign to review tweets posted to the platform. The posts were subsequently removed.
"Handled these," an unnamed Twitter executive wrote in an email in response to five links shared by another Twitter employee.
Of the links to five since-deleted tweets that were shared in a screenshot by Taibbi, four had archives available online. All four of the available archives depicted nude photos and videos of the president's son that had been leaked after he allegedly left his laptop at a Delaware repair shop.
The removal has been seized upon by critics as evidence of the social media platform's bias in favor of Democratic politicians — and owner Elon Musk went so far as to call them a violation of the First Amendment — but the tweets contained no political content at all and instead depicted pictures and videos of Hunter Biden that had been circulated without his consent.
Twitter's non-consensual nudity policy specifically prohibits sharing "images or videos that are taken in an intimate setting and not intended for public distribution." California state law, where Twitter is headquartered, also makes sharing such imagery illegal.
"Twitter acting by itself to suppress free speech is not a 1st amendment violation, but acting under orders from the government to suppress free speech, with no judicial review, is," Musk tweeted in response to readers who argued the Biden campaign's request was a violation of the constitution's First Amendment.
However, legal experts were quick to point out that, since any representatives of the 2020 Biden campaign were not operating in any official government capacity as they were not yet government officials and because they were requesting illegal posts be removed, the contentious issue is not related to the constitution at all.
"For the millionth time, the First Amendment only applies to the government," Alejandra Caraballo, a clinical instructor at Harvard Law School's Cyberlaw Clinic, tweeted in response to Musk. "Biden was a private individual and his campaign wasn't the government. The links were literally to accounts that posted nude pictures of Hunter Biden, which is revenge porn and is unlawful in many states."