Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

The Twitter Files

Something strange is happening. While the news is brimming with stories about the administrative decisions Elon Musk has made since acquiring Twitter, more important news about the company has not been covered by the media. In what has become known as the “Twitter files,” Musk demonstrates that Twitter was not genuinely impartial and that it did not guarantee everyone freedom of speech.

Among the most important of these files is how Twitter suppressed the story about the president’s son Hunter Biden published by the ‘New York Post.’ Another of the files shows that the wife of former president Barack Obama had been involved in a campaign to ban Donald Trump from Twitter.

The files also show that the FBI interfered with Twitter’s oversight under the pretext of safeguarding the integrity of the elections, which the FBI commented on by saying it was normal procedure.

That is not all. The journalist Twitter hired, Matt Taibbi, revealed that President Biden’s team was in regular contact with Twitter, pushing the company to delete certain tweets attacking Biden. Taibbi has presented evidence to back up his claims.

It has also been revealed that Twitter knew of secret accounts managed by the American army that sought to promote US interests in the Middle East, and they were not closed despite breaking laws against promotional accounts.

Commenting on the news, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey has said he blames himself for having given the company so much power in regulating “freedom of expression,” adding that his biggest mistake was investing in tools that allowed Twitter to steer conversations instead of leaving this to its users, which made the company come under “external pressure.”

Dorsey also criticized the decision to ban Trump from the platform but also defended this step from a business standpoint. “We did the right thing for the public company business at the time, but the wrong thing for the internet and society.”

Despite all of that, the Twitter Files did not get the coverage they deserved, neither in the US, the West, nor the Arab world. To be fair, Issa al-Nahari, an upright journalist working at the Arabic language version of ‘The Independent’ provided the deepest coverage of this story.

Though shameful, it is understandable that American and Western media outlets ignored it because of ideological divisions and the leftist media’s pro-Twitter bias, which only ended with Musk’s arrival, and its determination to mislead the public and further their liberal leftist agenda. However, the question here is: what justifies the Arab media’s neglect of this important story, which could open the door to serious conversations about the agendas of social media platforms, warn users against the dangers of this ideological effort to misguide them, and show that “social media freedom” is a lie?

We all remember how, during what was falsely called the Arab Spring, President Obama presented access to Twitter and Facebook as human rights, demonizing moderate states under the pretext that they were silencing their people by controlling social media.

The truth unfolding before our eyes tells us the opposite. It has become clear that the American administration and federal authorities are the ones intervening, monitoring, and steering. And so, the pressing question is: why has the Arab media ignored this dangerous story? Is there an answer?