‘Twitter Files’ latest dump shows FBI pressured execs for not removing enough ‘state propaganda’ actors

The “Twitter Files” continues to be a thorn in the side of the FBI as the latest reporting by journalist Matt Taibbi shows that the bureau actively bullied executives concerning the removal of “state propaganda” from the platform.

The FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force reportedly interrogated executives in 2020 on reporting official state media actors’ use of the platform, according to emails provided by Taibbi in the “Twitter Files Supplemental” that was released Sunday night.

Leading the grilling was San Francisco FBI agent Elvis Chan who pressured then-Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth in July 2020 for additional information regarding bad actors on the social media platform.

Chan was not buying Twitter’s assertion that it “had not observed much recent activity from official propaganda actors” on the platform, emails reveal.

One image that Taibbi attached showed the questions included, “In what ways and by what measures do you see official propaganda actors as less active than other groups on your platform?”; “What groups are you comparing to official propaganda actors?” and “What quantitative metrics do you use to judge volume of activity on your platform? On what scale? Can you provide these metrics?”

Roth evidently was perturbed by the FBI’s bullying on the matter and claimed that he was “perplexed” by the probing inquiry.

“I’m frankly perplexed by the requests here, which seem more like something we’d get from a congressional committee than the Bureau,” he stated in an email that was sent to his team.

He noted that he was not “particularly comfortable with the Bureau (and by extension the [Intelligence Community]) demanding written answers.”

Roth claimed in another email that he felt the FBI’s line of questioning was “flawed” since Twitter had clearly acknowledged that “official state propaganda is definitely a thing on Twitter.”

The FBI defended its actions saying that the requests to Twitter were a normal procedure for the agency.

“The FBI regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities,” the Bureau informed Taibbi.

Friday, Taibbi stated that the FBI and Twitter’s relationship had a “master-canine quality” and that the two entities were in “constant and pervasive” contact. He went on to state that the Bureau treated Twitter like a “subsidiary.” He also contended that the FBI constantly flagged numerous Twitter accounts for allegedly harmful “misinformation” beginning in January 2020.

The “Twitter Files 6” revealed that as many as 80 FBI agents were assigned to monitor foreign interference on social media following the 2016 presidential election.

Taibbi focused on the FBI’s reliance on mainstream media sources over Twitter’s own resources to target “foreign influence” on social media.

“If one didn’t know any better, one would conclude from this passage that the foreign-influence assertion at least in this case was being daisy-chained into existence: public sources cite anonymous official sources, then official sources cite the public sources in their communications with platforms like Twitter. An information loop, pooh-poohing any implication that foreign influence is not a threat, or at least a recent threat,” Taibbi wrote in a Substack post, according to Fox News.

“Seeing Roth act so quickly in response to the possibility of a ‘swirl’ forming in the ‘IC’ should put to rest any questions about who is subservient to whom in this relationship,” he concluded.

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