Taylor Lorenz didn't use family connections to remove information from the Internet Archive

By: Sam Doak
May 22 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Taylor Lorenz didn't use family connections to remove information from the Internet Archive


The Verdict False

There is no evidence that Lorenz is related to a senior figure at the Internet Archive, a non-profit that is not owned by any single person.

Claim ID 02254329


On May 18, 2023, journalist Paul Thacker posted a thread concerning the journalist Taylor Lorenz. Thacker’s thread was part of the ongoing "Twitter Files" series, which has seen a number of figures gain privileged access to Twitter to detail what Elon Musk, the site’s current owner, believes were mistakes perpetrated by its previous leadership. 

In this thread, Thacker singled out Lorenz, claiming she had taken actions to ban an account that was critical of her. Thacker claimed, “The account detailed Lorenz as a Manhattan rich girl, who attended Swiss boarding school, and whose uncle owns the Internet Archive, thus erasing her past.” 

The Internet Archive is an organization that maintains the WayBack Machine, a tool used to archive and view online content. The allegation that Lorenz had used family connections to remove content from this archive drew the attention of many on Twitter, including Elon Musk who commented “Her uncle owns the Wayback machine & you're saying he deleted information for nepotism. That’s a big deal.”

Despite the attention Thacker’s allegations received, there is no evidence that the account outlined is credible or true. 

In Fact

In response to Elon Musk’s comment, Brewster Kale, founder of the Internet Archive, denied Thacker’s allegations, tweeting, “I am the Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive, a non-profit public charity and a library which runs the Wayback Machine — no one 'owns' the Internet Archive. Taylor Lorenz is not my niece, nor have I met her.” 

Kale’s account matches publicly available documentation that shows the Internet Archive is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit. According to the American Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to be classified as a 501(c)(3) non-profit, “an organization must not be serving any private interests, including the interests of the creator, the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or other persons controlled by private interests.” This would prevent the Internet Archive from legitimately acting as alleged by Thacker and others. 

In response to Thacker and Musk’s comments, Lorenz seemingly dismissed the narrative being perpetuated, commenting, “It's so funny, their minds....!” To date, no evidence has come to light that suggests Lorenz and Kale are related or that such a relationship was leveraged in the manner claimed by Thacker. 

The Verdict 

There is no evidence that Taylor Lorenz and Brewster Kale are related. The Internet Archive is a registered non-profit without a single owner, and its status prevents it from being used for the personal gain of its founders or their family members. No evidence suggests senior figures at the organization have improperly acted on Lorenz’s behalf. This claim has therefore been marked as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before