The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) treated Twitter as a “subsidiary” as they asked to notify them and also flagged the tweets that are purportedly harmful “misinformation” since January 2020, the new edition of “Twitter Files” reveal.
Independent journalist and author Matt Taibbi called the treatment of Twitter by the FBI a “subsidiary” and said that the institution’s contact with micro-blogging sites was “constant and pervasive.” Taking to Twitter, Taibbi said, “The #TwitterFiles are revealing more every day about how the government collects, analyzes, and flags your social media content.”
“Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth,” Taibbi wrote.
DEVELOPING STORY: New Twitter Files show FBI demanding Twitter take action to a number of Conservative accounts. pic.twitter.com/ZfYN8rUEFB
— Salem News Channel (@WatchSalemNews) December 17, 2022
Taibbi found a surprising note while investigating about FBI and that was the high number of requests made by the investigation institute for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, including joke tweets from low-follower accounts.
In the wake of 2016, the FBI created the social media-focused task force, known as FTIF, which swelled to 80 agents and corresponded with Twitter to identify alleged foreign influence and election tampering of all kinds.
“It’s no secret the government analyzes bulk data for all sorts of purposes, everything from tracking terror suspects to making economic forecasts,” Taibbi said in a tweet.
“The #TwitterFiles show something new: agencies like the FBI and DHS regularly sending social media content to Twitter through multiple entry points, pre-flagged for moderation,” he added.
As recently as November 22 of this year, for example, the FBI’s San Francisco office sent an email flagging four accounts that “may potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service.”
Describing the Twitter-FBI relationship as “The master-canine quality,” Taibbi said that this ties came through this November 2022 email, in which “FBI San Francisco is notifying you” it wants action on four accounts: One account on the list tweeted mostly satire, but Twitter employees still rushed to “look for reasons to suspend” the account for “civic misinformation.”
In the series of tweets, Taibbi added, “Of the six accounts mentioned in the previous two emails, all but two – @ClaireFosterPHD and @FromMa – were suspended.
“In an internal email from November 5, 2022, the FBI’s National Election Command Post, which compiles and sends on complaints, sent the SF field office a long list of accounts that ‘may warrant additional action’,” he added.
In a letter to recently fired Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker from Sept. 16, Twitter legal executive Stacia Cardille shared her notes from one of the meetings, which she said were “soon to be weekly.”
The letter also reveals that Twitter and the FBI appeared to be on such good terms that the feds were “adamant” that they could share classified information with executives, according to Cardille.
Meanwhile, the FBI, reacting to “Twitter Files” data, said that it “regularly engages” with private companies to provide information about the activities of malicious foreign actors, but the bureau wouldn’t comment on Taibbi’s characterization of its relationship with Twitter and wouldn’t say if it provided the social media company with any classified information, according to the New York Post.
“The FBI regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities. Private sector entities independently make decisions about what, if any, action they take on their platforms and for their customers after the FBI has notified them,” the FBI said in a statement.
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