Elon Musk, who is in the middle of negotiations to buy Twitter for $44 billion, said it was “disconcerting” that a Biden administration official wants verified Twitter users to edit other people’s tweets.
Musk was responding to a video of Nina Jankowicz, the director of the White House’s newly created Disinformation Governance Board, saying that tweets that contain factual errors should be edited by others, similar to Wikipedia.
“Disconcerting … ,” Musk wrote in a one-word tweet in response to the video.
Jankowicz told participants in a recent Zoom chat that she is “verified” by Twitter before adding that “there are a lot of people who shouldn’t be verified, who aren’t legit” because “they’re not trustworthy.”
She then adds: “Verified people can essentially start to ‘edit’ Twitter [in] the same sort of way that Wikipedia is so they can add context to certain tweets.”
Jankowicz then offered up a hypothetical.
“If President [Donald] Trump were still on Twitter and tweeted a claim about voter fraud, someone could add context from one of the 60 lawsuits that went through the court or something that an election official said…so that people have a fuller picture rather than just an individual claim on a tweet,” she said.
Twitter’s verification feature, in which verified users receive a “blue check” next to their Twitter handles, was introduced more than a decade ago as a means to indicate that an account holder is “authentic, notable, and active.” It is aimed at helping users identify celebrities and public figures while distinguishing them from imposters or parody accounts.
Musk, the Tesla CEO and the world’s richest man, has offered to buy Twitter for $44 billion, though he tweeted early Friday that the deal is on hold pending clarification about the presence of bots.
He plans to alter Twitter’s content moderation policies and allow for fewer restrictions on speech. Musk, who calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” has also stated that he plans to reinstate the account of former President Donald Trump.
It is unclear when the Zoom conversation — video of which was posted on Twitter by The Post Millennial, a Canada-based news outlet — took place.
The Disinformation Governance Board — likened by Republicans and also some left-wing and libertarian critics to an Orwellian “Ministry of Truth” — was announced last month shortly after billionaire Elon Musk reached a deal to buy Twitter to implement pro-free speech and anti-censorship reforms.
Jankowicz’s own misleading comments about freedom of speech and disinformation have surfaced since she was tapped to head the controversial new body within DHS.
She posted tweets promoting the debunked claim that Trump had ties to a Kremlin-linked bank. Trump was accused of colluding with Russia during his 2016 campaign against the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
Jankowicz tweeted about the purported link on Nov. 1, 2016, one day after the connection was explored in a piece on the left-wing website Slate. Her post was initially uncovered by the Washington Examiner.
The allegations of Trump’s links to Russia, which were raised by Clinton’s campaign, is now the subject of a probe by John Durham, the special counsel who was appointed by previous Attorney General Bill Barr.
Jankowicz also cast doubt on The Post’s reporting on documents from Hunter Biden’s laptop. The New York Times and Washington Post recently acknowledged their belated verification of emails from the cache.
House Republicans want to disband the Disinformation Governance Board, which they call “an un-American abuse of power.”