Ex-Twitter Safety Chief Admits Censorship of Hunter Biden’s Laptop Was a ‘Mistake’

Yoel Roth, the former Twitter head of trust and safety, recently admitted the social media company’s decision to censor the 2020 Hunter Biden laptop story was a “mistake.” 

During a recent interview, Roth said that despite concerns about the authenticity of the laptop story, it didn’t reach the level where he wanted to remove the content — which was later censored. Initially, reporting suggested Roth blocked user access to the October 2020 story, but the former safety division leader said the decision wasn’t left to him.

“We didn’t know what to believe, we didn’t know what was true, there was smoke — and ultimately, for me, it didn’t reach a place where I was comfortable removing this content from Twitter,” said Roth. “But it set off every single one of my finely tuned APT28 hack and leak campaign alarm bells.”

Roth reiterated that despite his personal feelings of responsibility to protect the “integrity of conversations” from foreign governments trying to interfere in elections and Big Tech companies’ high-alert status, it never rose to the level where he thought the story needed to be censored. 

“But — so it was a mistake?” Roth was asked. 

“In my opinion, yes,” answered Roth.

Twitter, Meta warned by FBI about misinformation, propaganda

Roth said he planned to meet with the Department of Homeland Security’s now-discontinued Disinformation Governance Board, where it was expected Twitter would be asked to become more involved in misinformation monitoring efforts. 

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Roth revealed they were approached by the FBI before the 2020 election and warned the platforms about foreign misinformation and propaganda.

When the first bombshell report was published in the New York Post just weeks before the 2020 election, Facebook and Twitter were quick to block or limit sharing of the story in an unprecedented display of coordination. Jack Dorsey, the former Twitter CEO, has also admitted the platform was wrong to intervene in the Hunter Biden story. 

Last week, Elon Musk, Twitter’s new CEO, said he might release more information about how the social media company censored the laptop story. Initially, the New York Post was locked out over its report before later being reinstated.

Along with Big Tech’s censorship, numerous media outlets initially labeled the laptop story as Russian disinformation. Dozens of former intelligence officials and leaders also signed a letter saying they believed the story was part of a disinformation campaign from Russia. 

Multiple news outlets have since independently verified that the laptop is authentic.