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Tipsheet

New Twitter Files Just Dropped

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Independent journalist Matt Taibbi — who released the first installment of the "Twitter Files" and kicked off a firestorm of revelations that led to Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker being "exited" from the company — dropped another round of documents and information on Friday evening.

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This time, the deep-dive into Twitter's internal machinations focused on its role as a "subsidiary" of the FBI. The Twitter Files, Taibbi wrote in his thread of information, "are revealing more every day about how the government collects, analyzes, and flags your social media content," including how "Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive."

Just how constant, you may ask. Well, as Taibbi explained, the timespan covering January 2020 to November 2022 saw more than "150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth." Of those emails, some "are mundane, like San Francisco agent Elvis Chan wishing Roth a Happy New Year along with a reminder to attend 'our quarterly call next week.' Others are requests for information into Twitter users related to active investigations," Taibbi said. "But a surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts."

This latest installment of the Twitter files confirms another side of what many conservatives believed to be true, and also refutes claims from liberals after earlier Twitter Files releases who said there's no First Amendment issues with Twitter's conduct in the past. While it may have been easy to say there's nothing controversial about the Biden campaign or the DNC asking their friends at Twitter to remove negative content, it's a different ballgame entirely when the FBI — a government agency — is making the requests to stifle Americans' online expression.

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Taibbi shared a screenshot of an email from the FBI to Twitter seeking action against a handful of accounts, confirming that the federal government was pushing Twitter to act against individual users.

Another email in response explains that three of the accounts flagged by the FBI were suspended:

A subsequent email shared by Taibbi contained a list of accounts for additional followup from the FBI's National Election Command Post which was forwarded to the San Francisco field office and dutifully passed along to Twitter:

Twitter would later respond to the FBI with its actions based on the list flagged by the FBI, even though numerous penalized accounts were clearly satire.

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Further showing the "subsidiary" role Twitter played with the FBI and other federal agencies, Taibbi shared a screenshot of a 2022 email setting up weekly meetings between the social media company and Biden's bureaucrats at the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, FBI, and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. 

What's more, the Biden FBI reportedly said that it saw "no impediments" to sharing classified information "with industry," presumably Twitter in this case.  

As Taibbi goes on to explain, Twitter's work with the federal government only continued to ramp up under the Biden administration and pivoted from election information to dealing with "domestic violent extremist" threats. 

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Taibbi concludes from the emails between federal agencies and Twitter that the "ubiquity of the 2016 Russian interference story as stated pretext for building out the censorship machine can't be overstated. It's analogous to how 9/11 inspired the expansion of the security state."

Twitter's leftist-dominated culture warriors were more than happy to play a role in expanding the "censorship machine," as seen on internal communications shared by Taibbi:

And, much like Facebook had a portal specifically for government bureaucrats to submit information for review, Twitter made sure the Biden administration could also reach them through multiple avenues to flag content.

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The numerous pathways for flagging information with Twitter were used not just by the FBI, but also by DHS in at least one example shared as part of the latest Twitter Files release:

And state governments, such as California's, also took advantage of the reporting methods to flag items, including tweets by former President Donald Trump going back as far as the fall of 2020. 

Other entities also reported accounts and posts to Twitter, showing how convoluted the sources of information seeking to have Twitter bend to their will had become before Musk took over and started blowing the whistle on his company's prior actions.

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After Friday's thread was completed, Taibbi teased future Twitter Files releases from himself, Bari Weiss, and Michael Shellenberger on "a variety of new areas" they're researching. 

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