Supporters of former president Donald Trump cried foul when social media sites owned by liberal billionaires banned all mention of the large body evidence of high-stakes international graft by his rival Joe Biden’s son Hunter.
Elon Musk’s apparent pledge to reveal internal Twitter debates on suppressing the Hunter Biden ‘Laptop from Hell’ story could have wide-reaching political repercussions, commentators say.
Musk dropped a heavy hint on the social media site on Thursday that he would publish internal company messages that led to the decision to suspend the New York Post Twitter account and block all tweets linking to the report on its website, just a month before the 2020 US presidential election that saw Joe Biden take power in Washington.
The computer, abandoned at a Delaware repair shop, contained photos of the President’s son naked with prostitutes and taking hard drugs along with incriminating emails and SMS messages implicating him at the centre of a political cash-for-influence conspiracy.
The South African tech tycoon said the action was necessary to “restore public trust” in Twitter.
But how serious is Musk about opening up on scandals at the social network he bought last month?
Tiberio Graziani, chairman for vision and global trends at the International Institute for Global Analyses, told Sputnik that the situation put Twitter’s new owner in a position of power.
Obviously, “Musk could really expose Hunter Biden’s private and secret conversations,” Graziani pointed out, “but he could also negotiate if, how and when to make them public.”
The analyst observed that the scandal was also an opportunity for Musk to stamp his mark on the site he acquired in a sharply-contested takeover, just as the US and the world could be about to witness major power shifts.
“In a particularly stormy period between the West and Russia, the intention expressed by Elon Musk to reveal the documents about Twitter’s decision to ban the Hunter Biden laptop story constitutes a good launch for ‘his’ Twitter and, indirectly, accredits the new owner of this social network as a new hero, as he dares to challenge the power group that refers to President Biden,” Graziani said.
The Twitter memos, once made public, would “become elements that the political struggle will exploit in order to influence the current presidency and, in perspective, the campaign for the 2024 presidential election,” he added.
It was not only Big Tech barons like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s* Mark Zuckerberg who conspired to bury the Hunter Biden story, but also the Democratic Party, intelligence agents, the FBI and journalists, who insisted it was “Russian disinformation” designed to benefit former president Donald Trump.
The issue of so-called ‘Russian’ disinformation has been — at least since the 2016 presidential campaign — a constant in the US domestic political debate,” Graziani said. “It has become a sort of mantra, difficult to eradicate.”
Professor Charles M. Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware, believed Musk was serious about releasing the internal Twitter records, but “it really depends on what’s in them.”
“Why was it blocked?” he asks of the “Laptop from hell” report. “There was a political motivation to it, which I think is important to determine. And if so, that has some repercussions on our system.”
Elson said Twitter would be justified in publishing the private conversations between staff — and allowing users to post details of the material on Hunter Biden’s hard drive — as they dealt with “an act that harmed public trust by withholding it.”
“Any time you put something in writing, you can expect at some point it becomes public,” he stressed. “If it’s in writing, it may very well appear somewhere.”
Come Carpentier de Gourdon is the Convener of the Editorial Board of the World Affairs Journal, a quarterly publication dedicated to international issues, and an associate of the International Institute for Social and Economic Studies (IISES).
He told Sputnik it was apparent that Musk had decided to support Donald Trump in his bid to regain the presidency in 2024, after becoming “very politicized” by the Democrats’ liberal polices and attempts to censor information.
De Gourdon said airing the decision-making process would have “huge” support in the US. “Something like 70 percent of Americans, according to some polls, want to release the information which was withheld, according to reports, because of the intervention of the FBI.”
“I would expect Musk to release information because he likes the publicity and he likes suspense”, he added.
However, the editor does not think Musk will reveal anything new, “Given that most of that information is already publicly available on the net because of the transcript of the laptop.”
“The very principle of social media is that they can be hacked or sometimes released by anonymous sources,” de Gourdon pointed out. All Musk could present would be “data on what really happened and what reasons the FBI invoked for trying to prevent the release of the information” — and who told the federal agency to declare it “Russian disinformation.”
With the Republicans, who gained a slim majority in the House of Representatives in the November midterms, announcing an investigation into the Bidens’ dealings, the current affairs expert did not think Twitter’s potential release of more information would make a difference.
“But the volume of information available from something like 125,000 messages from the laptop, plus the number of e-mails and other documentary evidence that by itself is a very, very major problem which the Bidens will have to explain and answer for,” de Gourdon stressed.
“I’m sure he is going to be under a very heavy pressure not to reveal everything,” he said of Musk “But on the other hand, he’s obviously in contact with some Republicans. He would consider it in the interest of the Republican Party for the information [to get] out, especially if it is indeed very damaging to Biden’s family.”
*Facebook is banned in Russia over extremist activities.