The FBI responded to Twitter CEO Elon Musk’s release of the Twitter Files by railing against “conspiracy theorists and others” who were spreading misinformation to discredit the agency.
Musk released a series of explosive documents and reports that showed how the FBI asked for security reviews of accounts and tweets. Agents contacted employees of the social media platform regularly to point out accounts that “may” have run afoul of Twitter’s terms of service.
Some charge the agency with having a political agenda in its targeting of specific postings and users.
The agency, however, declared that its interactions with the social media platform are business as usual.
In a statement to Fox News, the FBI said that its correspondence with Twitter simply showed its “traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements. It claimed these actions exist with “numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries.”
The agency further noted that it gives companies “critical information” to enable them to better protect themselves and their customers.
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) December 21, 2022
Fair enough, but then it went further. The FBI statement lamented that those peddling conspiracy theories are “feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.”
The Bureau also said it did not specifically tell Twitter to take action but only notified it to check on areas where action may be warranted.
Independent journalist Matt Taibbi posted numerous examples of FBI communications with the platform on Twitter.
Among them was a message addressed to “Twitter contacts” from FBI San Francisco. It included a list of accounts that the agency said: “may potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service.”
It added that the list was provided “for any action or inaction deemed appropriate.” Three of the four accounts listed were suspended, and the fourth was flagged for possible violations.
One of the accounts simply tweeted on Nov. 8, “Americans, vote today. Democrats, you vote Wednesday (the) 9th.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) responded to the revelations by calling for FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify before Congress. Kennedy said the agency “has a lot of explaining to do about the Twitter Files.”
The FBI has plenty more to worry about than obviously sarcastic postings of individuals. That it deemed it necessary to inform Twitter of this statement and presumably others like it only adds fuel to the firestorm of criticism for having a political agenda.