A former Twitter employee has shed new light on the company’s dealings with the White House while former President Donald Trump was in office. Anika Navaroli, a former senior member of Twitter’s US Safety Policy, testified at a House Oversight Committee hearing that her team had received a request to remove a tweet making fun of the former president.
She revealed the previously unreported interaction during hearing with former Twitter executives’ over their handling of a 2020 New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s laptop. Republicans on the committee have equated Twitter's initial decision to block links to the story with “censorship,” and criticized the company for its interactions with government officials.
But Navaroli revealed that Twitter had also received at least one request, from the Trump White House regarding a tweet they wanted removed. The tweet came from Chrissy Teigen, who had called the president a “pussy ass bitch,” in response to comments he had made about her and her husband. According to Navaroli, someone from the White House “reached out to ask that this tweet be removed” and that her team had to evaluate whether the tweet violated the company’s “insults policy.” She said they ultimately determined the tweet did not, and it remained up.
The Trump WH wanted Teigen’s tweet calling Trump a PAB taken down lol pic.twitter.com/WkyQoJ3zIP— Acyn (@Acyn) February 8, 2023
Earlier in the hearing, Navaroli also revealed that Twitter had on at least one occasion changed its policies in order to avoid taking action against a tweet from Trump. She said that the company had removed internal “moderation guidance” that used “go back to where you came from” as an example of language that would break its rules after Trump had used the phrase in reference to New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and other lawmakers. She said a more senior executive, former trust and safety head Del Harvey, “overrode” her assessment that the tweet broke Twitter's rules.
AOC: So Twitter changed their own policy after Trump violated it to accommodate his tweets? pic.twitter.com/ViBt5yqWC5— Acyn (@Acyn) February 8, 2023
The hearing wasn’t the first time members of Congress have heard from Navaroli. She previously spoke with the committee investigating the January 6th attack about her efforts Twitter officials about threats leading up to the attack. "Twitter leadership bent and broke their own rules in order to protect some of the most dangerous speech on the platform," she said in her opening statement.