New Twitter bombshell: How US spies used false allegations of Russian election meddling to bring tech giant to heel

The files reveal how the specter of Moscow’s alleged wrongdoing was used to submit the platform to the US Democratic Party

In a pair of bestselling #TwitterFiles threads this week, journalist Matt Taibbi exposed, in greater detail, the media giant’s disturbing collusion with the US national security state. The former Rolling Stone writer explained how political pressure from the US Democratic Party effectively forced the company to endorse the lie that its platform was heavily militarized by Russia, with hugely significant consequences.

Find the “Russian trace” at all costs

The firstboldly titled’How Twitter infiltrated the intelligence communitydocumented how in August 2017, despite dubious claims that Russian bots and trolls were responsible for electing Donald Trump in the mainstream media reaching a fever pitch, the Twitter hierarchy knew their platform was not full of malicious actors led by the Kremlin.

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In internal emails, the company’s senior executives and communications professionals almost scoffed at the idea that Russian robots had outsmarted it. They cannot detect “good relationship” on account activity related to the November 2016 election, by “larger models” to everyone. They may plan to take action against less than 25 users. So it was decided Ignore it media approach to the issue.

The following month, Twitter informed the Senate that it had suspended 22 potentially Russian accounts and 179 others with “possible links” in these accounts. Senator Mark Warner, a ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, right away held a high-profile press conference to denounce the social network’s response “Frankly not enough at all levels.

Such pressure, along with bitter statements by Hillary Clinton, the two-time failed presidential candidate, “It’s time for Twitter to stop dragging its feet and own up to the fact that its platform is being used as a tool for cyber warfare,” forced the social network to set up a dedicated space “Russia Task Force” to investigate the matter. He did – and found nothing. “There is no evidence of a concerted approach” between accounts flagged as potentially Kremlin-run were identified, despite an “extensive” internal investigation.

hillary clinton

© Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

In total, after manually reviewing the posts of thousands of accounts flagged as “suspicious” by external actors, they found that only 32 were questionable, 17 of which were related to Russia, and only two spent money. in advertising – one is RT, which received favorable marketing offers from Twitter before the election.

Again, senior Democratic Party officials were outraged by these results. What followed was a flurry of shocking reporting that claimed Twitter was covering up the Kremlin’s dirty work for nefarious reasons, either lying about the issue or actively deleting tons of incriminating data to cover its own tracks.

“If Twitter were a contractor to the FSB … they couldn’t have created a more effective disinformation platform,” Intelligence Committee adviser Professor Thomas Rid told Politico at the time.

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Indulge in politics

None of this is true. But it gave Democrats ammunition to threaten Twitter’s political advertising regulations, which could be very costly for the company’s bottom line. This caused panic among senior management, which was only intensified by the timely decision run away from a database of thousands of suspected Russian bots and trolls to the Intelligence Committee’s mainstream media. This resulted in a flood of aggressive questions from journalists.

Realizing that the pressure will only increase – because the media and politicians have decided that this is indeed a big scandal, regardless of the evidence available, and will continue to push until they get what they want – Twitter bowed down and said publicly bots and In fact, trolls are a big problem on its platform, and it will be proactive in eliminating such activity in the future.

Internally, Twitter executives colonized to an informal and secret policy for dealing with rogue network actors. Publicly they will be next in line, content will be removed and users will be banned “at our sole discretion”, when in private they will do it “outboard” everything and anything “identified by the US intelligence community as a state-sponsored entity conducting cyber operations”, no argument.

Twitter actively invited American spies to run its moderation process, without anyone knowing, and with the implicit internal understanding that they would not go away. This evil penetration expand when Covid-19 came to the United States, and once again the Kremlin’s bogeyman “disinformation” became the battering ram.

In February 2020, the intelligence wing of the US State Department, the Global Engagement Center, released a report, “Russian disinformation apparatus exploits coronavirus concerns.” He said a vast network of bots and trolls controlled by Moscow and powered by China and Iran spews endless propaganda. “describing the coronavirus as an artificial biological weapon.”

The report’s criteria for determining whether an account is a bot or a troll is, incredibly, if the user followed “two or more” Chinese diplomats. The 250,000-person network includes Western government officials and media outlets, including CNN. Such a weak evidence base did not deter mainstream journalists from publishing countless articles endorsing the report’s findings.

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Twitter staff, perhaps because of past experience at this point, can see what the Center is doing – that is, trying to “to enter” in “Content moderation club” where Google, Twitter and Facebook are controlled by the FBI, DHS and other US government agencies. The heads of these technology giants are unitedly opposed to the integration of the Center, mainly because of this “offensive order” information operations “Advance American interests.”

Hell under the heel

After years of bending over backwards to appease the Democratic establishment, Twitter tried to push back. In a series of internal emails, various executives expressed deep concerns about allowing the Center any influence on the platform, and initially rejected an FBI request for the organization to be included in the ” regular industry calls from the Moderation Club It was felt that the Center’s involvement would pose “Major risks…especially as the election heats up.”

Eventually, the FBI offered a compromise – the CIA, NSA, and Global Engagement Center could only listen to calls from industry, but not be active participants. Twitter caved in, a decision its higher-ups apparently quickly regretted. Soon, the social network was bombarded with requests to censor content and ban users from every US government agency under the sun.

This has been extended to US government officials requesting that users be banned because they personally dislike the individual in question. Famous House Intelligence Committee Chief Adam Schiff, a once-in-a-lifetime Democrat asked Twitter to ban journalist Paul Sperry, for his critical reporting on the Committee’s work. After the initial refusal, Sperry was eventually suspended.

Almost all other requests were accepted immediately, even those from the Global Engagement Center. This includes demands to ban independent media that falsely claim this “GRU-controlled” and bound “to the Russian government”. In an email, a former CIA employee noticed that Twitter almost can’t refuse a request. “Our window here is closing”, They said.

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New Twitter bombshell: How US spies used false allegations of Russian election meddling to bring tech giant to heel
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In the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, Twitter was flooded with requests from so many officials, departments, and agencies, they were confused and overworked. If an action is not taken immediately, follow-up emails will quickly appear asking if an action has been taken, and if not, why and when it will be taken.

In one request, an FBI official even apologized “In advance for your workload.” Once, a probably tired senior lawyer from the social network complained internally, “My inbox is really messed up at this point.”

Previous #TwitterFiles threads revealed how the FBI paid the social network $3 million to process its claims. Based on the latest information, it is clear that the company and its staff are underpaid for their efforts. Future posts promise more explosive revelations, but the long-hidden facts leaked so far should make every Twitter user wonder how the site operated in secret for years as an effective US intelligence wing. – and it can be done again.

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