A senior employee at Twitter was caught on video detailing the types of information the social media company keeps on users. He and many others at Twitter have a strong anti-Trump bias, and he said he is prepared to give the Department of Justice draft tweets and chat transcripts of President Donald Trump.
The video is part of a the “American Pravda” investigative series from Project Veritas, which specializes in undercover investigative journalism. The video series has exposed political bias at CNN, Washington Post, and the New York Times; and has recently begun exposing social networking companies.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google have been accused of censoring and discriminating against conservatives. Google is currently being sued by a former employee alleging discrimination for his conservative views, and Twitter has run into controversy over monitoring each user’s internet activity and potentially penalizing them for the sites they visit.
The latest video is the first part of a series exposing Twitter, and is mainly focused on Clay Haynes, a senior network security engineer who has worked at Twitter since September 2016. He describes his job to an undercover reporter as being “the bouncer of the network.”
Project Veritas president James O’Keefe explains the purpose of the video at its start, stating that “Twitter calls itself the ‘global town square,’ but in reality they want to control thought, ideas, and even our political system itself.”
Haynes reveals the amount of information that Twitter retains on its users, reveals that it keeps this information in case authorities request it, and suggests that some Twitter employees are able to access this information on users.
He states, “We can absolutely look at every single message, every single tweet, whatever you log into, what profile pictures you upload, what profile pictures that you thought you were going to do.”
Haynes elaborates further, stating “What we can do on our side is actually very terrifying.”
“We have full access to every single person’s account, every single direct message, deleted direct messages, deleted tweets,” he says. “I can tell you exactly who logged in from where, what username and password, when they changed their password.”
In the videos, Haynes suggests he could use this information for political purposes.
Haynes describes himself as a “bleeding-heart liberal,” and says he doesn’t like Trump and “I want to get rid of him.” He notes that internal reviews at Twitter suggest many of its employees hold similar views.
He then explains that he could use the data Twitter retains on its users to advance his cause, noting “”We’re more than happy to help the Department of Justice in their little investigation.” He says he could provide the Department of Justice with “every single tweet that he’s [Trump] posted. Even the ones he’s deleted. Any direct messages, any mentions.”
When asked by an undercover reporter whether Twitter is working with the Department of Justice on this, he responds “I can’t comment, and even if I knew I wouldn’t commment.”
Haynes position may not reflect Twitter’s official stance on Trump’s tweets, however. He explains that Twitter regards Trump’s tweets as newsworthy, and because of this “we have to let those tweets up.”
After the video was published, Haynes stated on Twitter, “Well. This is no fun.”
Well. This is no fun.
— Tank 🚲 ««🚦«🚓 (@dark_15) January 10, 2018
Twitter responded to the video, telling International Business Times, “We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained,” and states that Haynes “was speaking in a personal capacity and does not represent or speak for Twitter.”
It added, “Twitter only responds to valid legal requests, and does not share any user information with law enforcement without such a request.”
O’Keefe stated in a press release, that “even if Haynes was just speculating about helping Justice, his admission shows a clear and dangerous political bias at the highest levels of Twitter.”
“The question is: by Twitter giving private information about the President to the Justice Department, are they breaking the law, betraying a trust, following an official request or satisfying a political agenda by leading a crusade against the President,” O’Keefe said.