Twitter whistleblower who foresaw the violence of Jan. 6 reveals her identity with an omen for the future of US democracy: WaPo
Anika Collier Navaroli, a former policy expert on Twitter's content moderation rules team, told The Washington Post why she decided to testify.
- In July, the Jan. 6 panel played a recording of an interview with an anonymous Twitter employee.
- The whistleblower said the company was reluctant to take stronger actions against Trump's account.
- The employee, Anika Collier Navaroli, spoke with The Washington Post on why she decided to testify.
The Twitter whistleblower who anonymously testified before the January 6 panel and argued that her company's leadership was reluctant to take strong actions against Donald Trump's account publicly stepped forward Thursday.
Anika Collier Navaroli spoke with The Washington Post months after she testified before the committee. In her conversation, she shared why she decided to speak with congressional investigators and the fears she had for the future of democracy after she saw the former president spread false claims of a rigged election.
"My fear within the American context is that we have seen our last peaceful transition of power," Navaroli, whose identity was also revealed earlier on Thursday by Rep. Jamie Raskin, told The Post. She added that Trump is not alone in spreading false claims of election fraud and that leaders around the world are using "the same playbook."
Navaroli was a policy expert for Twitter's team that created the platform's content-moderation rules. In July, the House select committee investigating the riot played an interview with Navaroli while hiding her identity.
It was during the testimony when Navaroli revealed how Twitter's executives "relished in the knowledge that they were also the favorite and most-used service of the former president" and were reluctant to impose any strong punishments on Trump's account.
When Rep. Raskin, a member of the January 6 panel, asked Navaroli if Trump would have been able to keep his account for so long if he were any other user, the former Twitter employee said "absolutely not."
"If the former President Donald Trump were any other user on Twitter, he would have been permanently suspended a very long time ago," she said.
Navaroli also foresaw the violence of the insurrection, which killed five people and injured many more, months before January 6, 2021.
After Trump told the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" in September 2020, Navaroli urged the company to adopt a stricter content moderation policy — but to no avail.
"My concern was that the former president for seemingly the first time was speaking directly to extremist organizations and giving them directives," she told the committee. "We had not seen that sort of direct communication before and that concerned me."
And when Trump tweeted in December 2020 about a "big protest in D.C. on January 6th" and how it would "be wild," Navaroli sounded the alarm at her company once again.
"I had been begging, and anticipating, and attempting to raise the reality that if we made no intervention into what I saw occurring, people were going to die and on January 5th, I realized no intervention was coming," she said to the panel.
Twitter's executives have previously said that Navaroli left out "unprecedented steps" the company took during the 2020 election, according to The Post.
Navaroli left Twitter last year. She's now a fellow at Stanford University, studying the impacts of moderating speech.
Navaroli told the newspaper that she sat with multiple interviews for the January 6 panel. A more complete report from the committee that will be released this year could include full transcripts of her interviews, The Post reported.
"There's a lot still left to say," she told The Post.