Tech Censorship

Link to “The Twitter Files, Part 3”

Plus, a few comments on what’s actually in our latest “nothingburger”

Twitter headquarters, San Francisco

I’ve just published the “Twitter Files, Part 3” thread from Friday night here on TK. Because it exceeds size limits, I couldn’t email it to subscribers, but the document does live on the site now. Click here to access the material.

Remember that the next tranche of “Twitter Files” material is coming out soon at @ShellenbergerMD, and another one tomorrow is dropping @BariWeiss. Please check out their contributions.

In the meantime, I wanted to draw up a quick summary of the main revelations in these documents. I keep seeing colleagues talking about how it’s a “nothingburger” or “just shows a bunch of normal people doing the best they can,” which I guess is an opinion one could have. I obviously disagree. There’s a lot in this tranche, but the key takeaways, as I see them.

FBI/DHS/DNI coordination. We entered this project conscious of reports that federal law enforcement agencies might be in contact with platforms like Twitter about content moderation. After not seeing it in the first batch, the Slack entries in “Part 3” contain multiple, clear displays of cooperation between Twitter and federal law enforcement and/or intelligence, including:

a) Senior executives like Trust and Security chief Yoel Roth not only met regularly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, but on at least one occasion liaised with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). This was not known previously.

b) Twitter executives didn’t just meet with agencies like the FBI, and didn’t just get general guidance about trends or warnings. We now have concrete examples of the FBI sending over reports about individual tweets, after which Twitter staff apply warning labels and other actions. This is direct evidence that federal law enforcement is in the business of identifying speech for regulation. How anyone can see that as a non-story is difficult for me to understand.

c) Continuing the theme of learning more about how Twitter works with its “trusted partners” in federal law enforcement, one of the most interesting exchanges was one of the least-noticed. In this Slack, Roth asks Twitter employees if they have a “debunk moment” about “the SCYTL/Smartmantic” vote counting conspiracies. He then says contacts at the DHS told him that these tales were an amalgam of “about 47 conspiracy theories.” He regrets DHS did not make this comment publicly.

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