Twitter Files | FBI Influence on Election


FBI Seal | Image by Shutterstock

As Elon Musk releases his latest deluge of internal Twitter communications, a very close-knit relationship between the social media company and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been revealed.

The revelation has prompted Congressional Republicans to vow to look into the matter when the new Congress convenes in January.

On December 9, Substack journalist Matt Taibbi released a new installment in the ongoing “Twitter Files” exposé entitled “The Removal of Donald Trump.”

Taibbi framed the latest bit as “the erosion of standards within the company in months before [January 6], decisions by high-ranking executives to violate their own policies, and more, against the backdrop of ongoing, documented interaction with federal agencies.”

Taibbi then lays out that prior to January 6, Twitter utilized a “unique mix” of tools to moderate content on its platform that included automation, rules-based enforcement, and subjective decisions made by senior executives.

In the months leading up to January 6, contact between Twitter and the FBI intensified.

In one tweet, Taibbi shares internal company chat communications in which Yoel Roth, former Head of Trust and Safety, joked about how he could no longer hide the nature of his meetings with the FBI, specifically about Trump, from others anymore.

“I’m a big believer in calendar transparency,” Roth lamented. “But I reached a certain point where my meetings became … very interesting … to people and there weren’t meeting names generic enough to cover.”

He goes on to joke about potential calendar meeting entries such as “DEFINITELY NOT meeting with the FBI I SWEAR” and “Very Boring Business Meeting That Is Definitely Not About Trump.”

In early October, Twitter staff created a special company chat room that “would be home for discussions about election-related removals, especially ones that involved ‘high-profile’ accounts.”

Here the outside influence of the FBI played out.

In one discussion, Policy Director Nick Pickles asked if Twitter could legitimately say that it detects “misinfo” through “partnerships with outside experts.”

After some back-and-forth, Pickles settles on simply “partnerships” because he was “not sure we’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts,” which indicates that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had a heavy hand with Twitter in moderating content related to the election.

These revelations caused a stir amongst Republicans in D.C., with many calling for an investigation into what happened.

“Some fingers are getting pointed at the FBI’s Washington, D.C., office in ways that are really troubling,” said Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). “The accumulation of accusations pointed at the FBI’s Washington, D.C., bureau, I think, make it ripe for serious investigation by Congress.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) went further, stating, “For far too long Big Tech has operated with unchecked power. In the majority, House Republicans will hold Big Tech accountable and investigate its attempt to silence conservative viewpoints, including its egregious, biased censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story.”

However, the FBI defended its engagement with Twitter, calling it common practice and alleging that the social media company was empowered to make its own decisions with the information it received.

“The FBI regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities,” a statement from the FBI read. “It is not based on the content of any particular message or narrative. 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.”

Robert Delahunty, a senior fellow at the University of St. Thomas School of Law, framed the issue this way, “We now know from the [Twitter Files] that the intelligence community interacted on a regular basis with Twitter and other platforms, seemingly to ‘advise’ them to monitor what the [intelligence community] considered objectionable content.”

“We do not yet know enough about the nature of those interactions to be able to say whether the platforms in effect became agents of the government. They may have,” Delahunty continued. “The next Congress must make it a top priority to investigate the (apparently extensive) contacts between the intelligence community and the platforms to determine whether what amounted to governmental censorship of political speech took place.”

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Ronald Reason
Ronald Reason
1 month ago

Bias. This story didn’t make the “respectable” news, AP, Reuters, BBC, etc; however, it is lighting up the Right; PJ Media, Fox, The Federalist.  At best, it’s Entertainment news, not National. 

Robert Delahunty, an Author at The Federalist, and Washington Fellow at the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life whose beliefs include that, “identity politics” is the Left’s central doctrine, and “having already conquered the nation’s major institutions, seeks to destroy the American way of life: republican self-government, equal protection of the laws, and the freedom of speech and thought.”