The Twitter Files, which usually make the top of the headlines when a new edition is released, were bumped to the bottom today as the drama surrounding prospective House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.)’s fight to secure votes dominated headlines.
Still, the latest edition, released by independent journalist Matt Taibbi on Tuesday afternoon, may be the most scandalous yet
In previous editions, Taibbi and other journalists showcased the cozy relationship between Twitter and government actors such as the FBi and the Pentagon.
In the latest batch, Taibbi shows how the relationship was first formed.
In the aftermath of the Russiagate scandal, high-profile Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence Committee began pressuring social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter to take the issue of Russian influence on their platforms more seriously.
When they investigated the matter and found that Russian influence on their platforms was minimal, Democrats were less than satisfied and began a public pressure campaign with the aid of allies in the media to get the platforms to take the issue more seriously.
The end result was more or less a total surrender by Twitter and Facebook, who began censoring on request on behalf of the intelligence community.
1.THREAD: The Twitter Files
Twitter and the FBI “Belly Button” pic.twitter.com/nfOGQGlvUM
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 3, 2023
“Screenshots of emails from Twitter’s former Vice President, Global Public Policy & Philanthropy, Colin Crowell, and Twitter’s former legal head, Vijaya Gadde, confirm that Twitter had been in contact with Facebook and agreed that the best public relations strategy was to say nothing on record and to issue a statement bringing them “closer to Facebook, their vulnerabilities on this issue, and the follow-up stories on Russia.”
Following that, Twitter suspended 22 possible Russian accounts and 179 others with “possible links” to those accounts out of a larger set of 2,700 suspects that were manually examined. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, wasn’t too happy with Twitter. He held a press conference to denounce Twitter’s report as “frankly inadequate on every level.”
“Warner has political incentive to keep this issue at the top of the news, maintain pressure on us and rest of industry to keep producing material for them.”