Latest Twitter Files sequel: US government peddled Russia bot hoax
“Despite universal internal conviction that there were no Russians in the story, Twitter went on to follow a slavish pattern of not challenging Russia claims on the record," Twitter Files #14 reveal.
In the latest Twitter Files sequel, US government officials and media outlets promoted speculations about Russian bot activity on Twitter despite opposition and evidence to the contrary from the social media platform.
In January 2018, individuals on Twitter began using the hashtag "ReleaseTheMemo" to advocate for the declassification of a memorandum written by then-Congressman Devin Nunes that identified weaknesses in the FBI's investigation into alleged collusion between former President Donald Trump and Russia.
1.THREAD: Twitter Files #14— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 12, 2023
THE RUSSIAGATE LIES
One: The Fake Tale of Russian Bots and the #ReleaseTheMemo Hashtag
In response, Democrats slammed the memorandum, alleging it was fueled by Russian "bots" rather than an organic social media campaign, despite Twitter informing legislators that there was no evidence linking the movement to Russia.
"Twitter warned politicians and media they not only lacked evidence but had evidence the accounts weren’t Russian – and were roundly ignored," Taibbi said.
"Execs eventually grew frustrated over what they saw as a circular process – presented with claims of Russian activity, even when denied, led to more claims," he added.
Nonetheless, Twitter continued to follow a pattern of not addressing Russia-related statements on the record, Taibbi stressed. As a result, despite a lack of evidence, a number of US media sources continued to push the Russian bots story, according to Taibbi.
The politicians, according to Nunes, contributed to one of the "biggest outbreaks of mass delusion in US history" by promoting the Russian connection fiction and attempting to discredit his memoranda. The contents of Nunes' memorandum were confirmed by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz in a December 2019 report.
The Twitter Files are based on internal information and were released in collaboration with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who has pledged to reform the social media firm since acquiring it last year.
What are the Twitter Files?
Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, is the mastermind behind the so-called Twitter Files. He has stated that he wants to demonstrate "what really happened" about behind-the-scenes content moderation choices at the social media business before he acquired it in October.
Three journalists, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Michael Shellenberger, have been delving into internal documents and conversations to highlight the company's decision-making process surrounding some high-profile actions, such as banning former President Donald Trump in January 2020. The Twitter Files have been released in bits and pieces throughout December into January.