In the first piece focused on that late 2017 period, you see how Washington politicians learned that Twitter could be trained quickly to cooperate and cede control over its moderation process through a combination of threatened legislation and bad press.
In the second, you see how the cycle of threats and bad media that first emerged in 2017 became institutionalized, to the point where a long list of government enforcement agencies essentially got to operate Twitter as an involuntary contractor, heading into the 2020 election. Requests for moderation were funneled mainly through the FBI, the self-described “belly button” of the federal government (not a joke, an agent really calls it that).
The company leadership knew as far back as 2017 that giving in to even one request to suspend this or that set of accused “hostile foreign accounts” would lead to an endless cycle of such demands. “Will work to contain that,” offered one comms official, without much enthusiasm, after the company caved for the first time that year. By 2020, Twitter was living the hell its leaders created for themselves.
Principles and courage matter.