The CIA has been meddling in Twitter’s inside content moderation for years, in accordance with the newest dispatches from Elon Musk’s “Twitter Files” — which additionally revealed “mountains of insistent moderation demands” from the Democratic National Committee, however not from the GOP.
Two separate threads in the continued Elon Musk-sponsored deep dive into the social media’s inside paperwork had been released Saturday by impartial journalist Matt Taibbi, documenting how the platform has often bowed to authorities and political pressure.
On June 29. 2020, Taibbi shows, the FBI’s Elvis Chan — who has performed a starring position in previous Twitter Files releases — requested company executives to “invite an OGA” to an upcoming convention.
“OGA, or ‘Other Government Organization,’ can be a euphemism for CIA, according to multiple former intelligence officials and contractors,” Taibbi explains.
One week later, Stacia Cardille, a senior Twitter authorized government, made the hyperlink specific.
“I invited the FBI and the CIA virtually will attend too,” Cardille wrote to her colleague — and former FBI chief counsel — James Baker on July 8, 2020. “No need for you to attend.”
Baker, one of dozens of ex-FBI brokers and executives in Twitter’s ranks on the time, was fired this month for interfering in Musk’s effort to disclose the company’s previous transgressions.
From that time, Taibbi writes that “regular meeting[s] of the multi-agency Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF)” — attended by Twitter and “virtually every major tech firm [including] Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, Reddit, even Pinterest, and many others” — had “FBI personnel, and – nearly always – one or two attendees marked ‘OGA’.”
“Meeting agendas virtually always included, at or near the beginning, an ‘OGA briefing,’ usually about foreign matters,” Taibbi writes.
Through the FITF, US intelligence tasked Twitter analysts with laborious investigations into home Twitter accounts alleged to have nefarious overseas connections, the paperwork reveal — ramping up because the 2020 presidential election approached, however persevering with via 2022.
Twitter content screens analyzed customers’ IP information, cellphone numbers and even weighed whether or not person names had been “Russian-sounding” to substantiate the federal government’s accusations – however typically failed to take action.
Taibbi shows how a succession of intelligence studies in 2022 strove to form information narratives referring to Ukraine and the Russian invasion.
One such report, which lists accounts allegedly tied to “Ukraine ‘neo-Nazi’ Propaganda,’” pushed Twitter to put websites mentioning Hunter Biden’s profitable position on the board of Busima, the Ukrainian vitality company, below a cloud of official suspicion.
Other studies, together with one from August 2022, comprised “long lists of newspapers, tweets or YouTube videos” that US intelligence deemed to be responsible of “anti-Ukraine narratives.”
“Intel about the shady origin of these accounts might be true,” Taibbi writes. “But so might at least some of the information in them – about neo-Nazis, rights abuses in Donbas, even about our own government. Should we block such material?”
Meanwhile, a separate thread from Taibbi documented that “Twitter did have a clear political monoculture” — one favoring Democrats.
Democratic Party operatives, and one staffer in specific, barraged Twitter moderators with complaints about Republican memes and spoofs in the run-up to the 2020 election.
In one case, Twitter refused to take away an obviously comical spoof of a “Todos Con Biden” occasion – in which then-candidate Joe Biden supposedly performed a pro-Trump track for a crowd of Hispanic voters.
Moderators additionally refused to label as “deceptive” a video mashup of Biden repeatedly coughing at a marketing campaign occasion.
“Because the video is an unaltered excerpt of the Vice President’s speech, our teams consider it to be out of context, but not deceptive,” Twitter advised the complaining DNC staffer, Timothy Durigan.
“These rules need revision,” Durigan — the lead analyst of the DNC’s Counter Disinformation Program, in accordance with his LinkedIn account – fumed.
In a fastidiously courteous response, Twitter despatched Durgan what Taibbi calls a “bizarre moderation flow chart” that “showed they can still apply labels to non-deceptive material.”
“If this kind of mechanized speech control can be used one way today, it can be used in another tomorrow, especially if unseen enforcement officials are pushing on the levers,” Taibbi famous.