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Republicans Vow To Get Answers After Twitter Files Reveal FBI Acted As ‘Subsidiary’ Of Platform

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Republican members of Congress have pledged to get answers from the Justice Department and the FBI after the latest Twitter Files dump revealed how closely the bureau worked with the social media platform to censor content and ban certain users.

“The #TwitterFiles are revealing more every day about how the government collects, analyzes, and flags your social media content. Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary,” journalist Matt Taibbi began his latest thread on Friday evening.

“Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth… 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,” he wrote.

Taibbi went on to highlight a social media task force established by the FBI after the 2016 presidential election, in which as many as “80 agents” were assigned to allegedly monitor foreign interference.

“Do agencies like FBI and DHS do in-house flagging work themselves, or farm it out? ‘You have to prove to me that inside the f—ing government you can do any kind of massive data or AI search,’ says one former intelligence officer,” Taibbi noted.

He also shared an email that was sent to “Twitter contacts” from an FBI official who listed several user accounts that “may potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service.”

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“Twitter personnel in that case went on to look for reasons to suspend all four accounts, including @fromma, whose tweets are almost all jokes (see sample below), including his ‘civic misinformation’ of Nov. 8,” Taibbi tweeted.

Taibbi showcased two more accounts, one he described as being “blue-leaning” and whose tweets were obvious jokes, writing, “Of the six accounts mentioned in the previous two emails, all but two… were suspended.”

It did not take long for Republicans to begin demanding answers anew as the latest files dump appears to indicate excessive federal government interference in censorship campaigns via a social media platform that agencies could never get away with on their own due to the Constitution’s First Amendment speech guarantee.

“America needs a functioning FBI that investigates and dismantles violent gangs, sex traffickers, public corruption, terrorism, and more,” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted.

“But sitting around and flagging tweets they don’t like? That ain’t it,” Boebert added. “The FBI has lost its way.”

“[The] FBI has a lot to answer for after the latest drop of Twitter Files 6,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tweeted Friday as well.

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During a segment of “Hannity,” Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) similarly ripped the FBI.

“Anyone that cares about free speech should be outraged,” Comer said. “Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, this has to stop.”

The GOP House Judiciary Committee account, which is managed by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, asked: “Does anyone still trust the FBI?”

Sen. Josh Hawley further speculated: “And if FBI used Twitter to censor, you bet they also used Google and Facebook.”

A spokesperson for the FBI justified the seemingly intrusive cooperation.

“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 spokesperson wrote, according to Fox News Digital. “Private sector entities independently make decisions about what, if any, action they take on their platforms and for their customers after the FBI has notified them.”

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