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Tipsheet

Twitter Files 'Supplemental' Details How Company Official Was 'Perplexed' by One of the FBI's Demands

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Journalist Matt Taibbi on Sunday published a “supplemental” thread to his most recent Twitter Files release about the FBI’s contact with the social media giant, which as he explained Friday, was “constant and pervasive.”

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The latest information shows one other conflict between the two parties.

"In July of 2020, San Francisco FBI agent Elvis Chan tells Twitter executive Yoel Roth to expect written questions from the Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), the inter-agency group that deals with cyber threats," Taibbi tweeted. "The questionnaire authors seem displeased with Twitter for implying, in a July 20th ‘DHS/ODNI/FBI/Industry briefing,’ that ‘you indicated you had not observed much recent activity from official propaganda actors on your platform.’"

As Taibbi explained, the agency didn’t appear to think that was good news. 

“Chan underscored this: ‘There was quite a bit of discussion within the USIC to get clarifications from your company,’ he wrote, referring to the United States Intelligence Community,” Taibbi’s thread continued. “The task force demanded to know how Twitter came to its unpopular conclusion. Oddly, it included a bibliography of public sources - including a Wall Street Journal article - attesting to the prevalence of foreign threats, as if to show Twitter they got it wrong.”

Circulating the message internally, Roth explains he was “perplexed by the requests.”

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Taibbi explains just one of the aspects of this exchange he found "odd."

In response to Taibbi's Twitter Files drop on Friday, the FBI said it “regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities.”

"That may be true," Taibbi countered, "but we haven’t seen that in the documents to date. Instead, we’ve mostly seen requests for moderation involving low-follower accounts belonging to ordinary Americans – and Billy Baldwin."

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