REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): The point is that Trump’s call to Washington reverberated powerfully and pervasively online. The committee has interviewed a former Twitter employee who explained the effect that Trump had on the Twitter platform. This employee was on the team responsible for platform and content moderation policies and Twitter throughout 2020 and 2021. The employee testified that Twitter considered adopting a stricter content moderation policy after President Trump told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by” from the lectern at the September 29 presidential debate. But Twitter chose not to act. Here is the former employee, whose voice has been obscured to protect their identity, discussing Trump’s “stand back and stand by” comment and the effect it had.
FORMER TWITTER EMPLOYEE: My concern was that the former president for seemingly the first time was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives. We had not seen that sort of direct communication before. And that concerned me.
INTERVIEWER: So, just to clarify further. You were worried and others at Twitter were worried that the president might use your platform to speak directly to folks who might be incited to violence?
FORMER TWITTER EMPLOYEE: Yes. I believe that Twitter relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most used service of the former president and enjoyed having that sort of power within the social media ecosystem.
INTERVIEWER: If President Trump were anyone else, would it have taken until January 8, 2021, for him to be suspended?
FORMER TWITTER EMPLOYEE: Absolutely not. If the platform or President Donald Trump were any other user on Twitter he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago.