Graphic by Dominic McKenzie/Observer

This essay, on the significance of the Twitter Files, was myObservercolumn this week. It was published on 1 January 2023, under the headline “The Twitter Files should disturb liberal critics of Elon Musk – and here’s why”.

Half the room is jumping up and down, screaming “Gotcha!”. The other half shrugs its shoulders, muttering “So what’s new?”. Welcome to the war over the so-calledTwitter Files.

Over the past month, Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, has made available to a handpicked group of journalistsinternal documentsand conversations that took place before his takeover. They are mainly discussions about who and what should be moderated or banned, ranging from theHunter Biden laptop storyto the question of whether to remove Donald Trump from the platform. The journalists have made public selected slices of the data through a drip feed of…

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