FBI responds to Twitter Files disclosures, says it didn’t request ‘any action’ on specific tweets
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is responding to Twitter Files revealing that the agency regularly contacted employees at the social media giant to notify them of accounts that ‘may’ constitute violations of the company’s terms of service.
FBI officials told Fox News that the agency didn’t ask Twitter employees to ‘take action’ based on the information provided, and said the information was provided so that Twitter employees can make a determination on whether to take action.
‘We are providing it so that they can take whatever action they deem appropriate under their terms of service to protect their platform and protect their customers, but we never direct or ask them to take action,’ the FBI officials said.
Substack writer and journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted multiple internal files between Twitter workers and FBI employees as part of the sixth installment of the Twitter Files.
‘Hello Twitter contacts, FBI San Francisco is notifying you of the below accounts which may potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service for any action or inaction deemed appropriate within Twitter policy,’ one email FBI employee wrote in an email on Nov. 10, 2022.
In the email, an FBI employee listed several Twitter accounts which might violate the social media company’s terms of service.
A Twitter employee responded that three of the four accounts were suspended, and asked someone else at the company to review the fourth account flagged by the FBI for ‘possible civic misinformation.’
Taibbi said that one of the accounts tweeted on Nov. 8 ‘I want to remind republicans to vote tomorrow, Wednesday November 9.’
One of the emails shared by Taibbi shows the ‘Public Sector Engagement Squad’ at FBI’s San Francisco office notifying Twitter employees of ‘account activities’ that ‘potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service.’
Another tweet flagged by the FBI states ‘Americans, Vote today. Democrats you vote Wednesday 9th.’
An FBI employee wrote in an email that one user ‘claimed in her posts that she is a ballot counter in her state and, in additional posts, states ‘For every negative comment on this post, I’m adding another vote for the democrats’ and ‘If you’re not wearing a mask, I’m not counting your vote.”
Taibbi said that the tweet from the user claiming to be a ballot counter was satirical.
Twitter’s former Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker was told in one email shared by independent journalist Michael Shellenberger that the company has collected $3,415,323 from the FBI.
‘Jim, FYI, in 2019 SCALE instituted a reimbursement program for our legal process response from the FBI. Prior to the start of the program, Twitter chose not to collect under this statutory right of reimbursement for the time spent processing requests from the FBI,’ a former Twitter employee wrote. ‘I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019! This money is used by LP for things like the TTR and other LE-related projects (LE training, tooling, etc.).’
The FBI official didn’t deny the multi-million dollar payment to Twitter, but said it was a ‘reimbursement’ for the ‘reasonable costs and expenses associated with their response to a legal process…for complying with legal requests, and a standard procedure.’
However, the FBI official said that ‘We don’t just reimburse Twitter,’ suggesting that the FBI has reimbursed other social media platforms as well.
In a statement shared with Fox News, an FBI spokesperson said ‘The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries. As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers.’
‘The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency,’ the spokesperson added.