The 6th installment of Elon Musk’s Twitter Files, released by Substack journalist Matt Taibbi, details the uncomfortably cozy relationship between Twitter executive Yoel Roth and the FBI.
Roth, who resigned shortly after Musk’s takeover, was responsible, along with his team, for the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story and the censorship of other accounts carrying whatever the Twitter team deemed as “misinformation.”
Taibbi began his thread by writing, “The #TwitterFiles are revealing more every day about how the government collects, analyzes, and flags your social media content. Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive as if it were a subsidiary.”
According to documents released in the Twitter Files, between 2020 and 2022, Twitter employees had regular communication with FBI agents. The FBI’s social media task force, established after the 2016 presidential election, assigned as many as “80 agents” to monitor foreign interference.
Taibbi writes that even Roth was not “comfortable with the Bureau (and by extension the IC) demanding written answers.”
“Do agencies like FBI and DHS do in-house flagging work themselves, or farm it out?” Taibbi wrote.
12.The FBI responded to Friday’s report by saying it “regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities.” pic.twitter.com/fkJrLjPKlN
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 18, 2022
In response to the revelations, the FBI immediately issued a statement to Fox News stating, “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.”
Republicans are vowing to hold the FBI accountable.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R-TN) says that the agency is “lying” in its response about its communications with Twitter executives.
“Mr. Wray is lying. He better clear off his January. I expect Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) in the Judiciary Committee and Mr. Comer from Kentucky’s committee will have him filled up,” Burchett said in a statement.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) tweeted that the FBI has a lot to answer for after the latest drop of Twitter Files and called on the FBI to “clean your calendar.”
Clear your calendar.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 16, 2022
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) questioned the FBI’s involvement in Google and Facebook as well.
And if FBI used Twitter to censor, you bet they also used Google and Facebook
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 16, 2022
Media personality Dinesh D’souza said that it’s now clear the FBI actively pushed Twitter to censor American citizens engaged in constitutionally protected speech and making true statements and called it a “serious threat to democracy.”
It’s now clear the FBI actively pushed Twitter to censor American citizens engaged in constitutionally protected speech and making true statements. They sought to censor information—not misinformation or disinformation. This is a serious threat to democracy #TwitterFiles6
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) December 17, 2022