Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi, who was given access to the company’s internal communications by CEO Elon Musk, said he is leaving Twitter on Friday.
“Twitter Files” journalist Matt Taibbi announced Friday he is begrudgingly leaving the social media platform after CEO Elon Musk’s latest changes have made it “unusable” for him.
Taibbi was one of a handful of reporters Musk granted access to Twitter’s internal communications last year after he purchased the social media giant, revealing how the company collaborated with government agencies to censor and suppress information and news — including The Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden laptop scoop in the run-up to the 2020 election.
As a condition of his internal access, Taibbi agreed to release his reporting live via lengthy Twitter threads. However, Taibbi and fellow reporter Bari Weiss both posted their reports on Substack, which allows writers to share their stories with paid subscribers, Mediaite reported.
After Substack announced Notes, a new competitive feature that allows short-form posts similar to a tweet, Twitter retaliated by barring the ability to share links or even embed tweets in Substack posts, according to the outlet.
In a post titled “The Craziest Friday Ever,” Taibbi explained why he was leaving Twitter and wrote that Musk’s platform sees Substack Notes as “a hostile rival.”
He said that the move will likely “come with a price as far as any future Twitter Files reports are concerned.”
“Earlier this afternoon, I learned Substack links were being blocked on Twitter. Since being able to share my articles is a primary reason I use Twitter, I was alarmed and asked what was going on,” Taibbi tweeted.
“It turns out Twitter is upset about the new Substack Notes feature, which they see as a hostile rival. When I asked how I was supposed to market my work, I was given the option of posting my articles on Twitter instead of Substack,” the former Rolling Stone journalist continued.
“Not much suspense there; I’m staying at Substack. You’ve all been great to me, as has the management of this company. Beginning early next week I’ll be using the new Substack Notes feature (to which you’ll all have access) instead of Twitter, a decision that apparently will come with a price as far as any future Twitter Files reports are concerned,” Taibbi wrote.
“It was absolutely worth it and I’ll always be grateful to those who gave me the chance to work on that story, but man is this a crazy planet,” he concluded.
Taibbi released the first of several “Twitter Files” reports in December 2022, which revealed the chaos and confusion behind closed doors after a small group of top-level execs made the decision to label The Post’s Hunter Biden story as “hacked material,” despite any evidence.
The decision to censor The Post’s story was made “at the highest levels of the company,” according to Taibbi, but without then-CEO Jack Dorsey’s involvement. Email and comments from former Twitter employees reviewed by the journalist showed that “everyone knew” the social media giant’s suppression of the story “was f–ked.”
While still CEO, Dorsey admitted during a March 2021 congressional hearing on misinformation and social media that blocking The Post’s report was a “total mistake.”
The second round of Twitter Files, published in a thread days later by fellow reporter Bari Weiss, detailed how the social media company secretly ”shadow-banned” a number of far-right users.
Taibbi then reported how Twitter decided to ban former President Donald Trump from the platform following the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, while high-ranking officials maintained contact with numerous government agencies over the decision.
Later information revealed that staffers and top executives pushed for former Trump’s removal from the site despite company monitors finding no violations in the ex-president’s tweets.
In another bombshell report, Taibbi also revealed that the CIA had been involved in Twitter’s content moderation for years.
Internal communications revealed that the FBI’s Elvis Chan, who was highlighted in other “Twitter Files” releases, asked company executives to “invite an OGA” — or Other Government Agency, typically meaning the CIA — to an upcoming conference.
Taibbi reported that “regular meeting[s] of the multi-agency Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF)” — attended by Twitter and “virtually every major tech firm [including] Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest, and many others” — had “FBI personnel, and — nearly always — one or two attendees marked ‘OGA’” to discuss foreign matters.
Through the FITF, US intelligence tasked Twitter analysts with laborious investigations into domestic Twitter accounts alleged to have nefarious foreign connections, the documents reveal — ramping up as the 2020 presidential election approached but continuing through 2022.
Twitter content monitors analyzed users’ IP data, phone numbers and even weighed whether user names were “Russian-sounding” to confirm the government’s accusations — but often failed to do so.
Taibbi testified before the House Judiciary Committee last month and accused the mainstream media of being “an arm of a state-sponsored thought-policing system,” creating “a form of Digital McCarthyism.”
“We learned Twitter, Facebook, Google and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation ‘requests’ from every corner of government: the FBI, DHS, HHS, DOD, the Global Engagement Center at State, even the CIA,” he said.
The same day he testified, an IRS agent visited to Taibbi’s home in New Jersey.
Taibbi said the agent who visited left a note instructing him to call the tax bureau four days later. When he did, an IRS agent reportedly told him that his returns for 2018 and 2021 had been rejected due to identity theft concerns.
Taibbi reportedly gave the House Judiciary Committee documents showing his 2018 tax return was electronically accepted and said the March intervention was the first time in more than four years that he was told it was rejected.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) demanded Monday that the IRS hand over all documents relating to the visit by April 10, including “[a]ll documents and communications between or among the IRS, Treasury Department, and any other Executive Branch entity referring or relating to Matthew Taibbi.”
It’s unclear if Taibbi will continue to publish “Twitter Files” reports after his departure from the platform, where he has 1.8 million followers.