Twitter Files Authors Testify Before US House Panel

The Twitter logo is seen at their headquarters on April 26, 2022 in downtown San Francisco, California.InternationalIndiaAfricaWASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Two authors of the so-called Twitter Files, Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger, provided testimony on Thursday to the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government regarding collusion between the US government and Twitter about censorship decisions on the platform. “Twitter, Facebook*, Google, and other companies developed a formal system for taking in moderation requests from every corner of government,” Taibbi told lawmakers. “For every government agency scanning Twitter, there were perhaps twenty quasi-private entities doing the same thing.” Agencies involved in submitting moderation requests to Twitter included the FBI, CIA, Defense Department and Department of Homeland Security, Taibbi said. Private entities involved in the process included the National Endowment for Democracy, Alliance for Securing Democracy and Stanford Internet Observatory. Taibbi dubbed the network of tech companies, government agencies and private organizations the “Censorship-Industrial Complex.” The network would flag posts deemed misinformation, such as those related to COVID-19 or the Hunter Biden laptop story, for Twitter to remove based on their terms of service. “This is the Censorship-Industrial Complex at its essence: a bureaucracy willing to sacrifice factual truth in service of broader narrative objectives. It’s the opposite of what a free press does,” Taibbi said. Moreover, the network itself is often a major source of disinformation, with US taxpayers funding their own “estrangement from reality,” Taibbi said. Democratic members of the panel questioned Taibbi and Shellenberger’s motives for engaging with the Twitter Files and requested they reveal anonymous sources for the story. The two journalists declined to reveal such information. AnalysisBans, Bucks & Bureaucracy: Twitter Files Co-Author Taibbi on Big Tech’s Collusion With Feds7 February, 15:13 GMTThe Republican-led House established the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government to investigate alleged abuses of new technology by the US government to undermine constitutional rights. Thursday’s hearing was the second held by the select subcommittee, with the first focused on alleged politicization of the FBI and Justice Department. The Twitter Files, which have been released in recent months by a group of journalists including Taibbi and Shellenberger, have revealed years of engagement between Twitter, government and private entities on censorship decisions. The reports have revealed coordination between Twitter and the US government to suppress the Hunter Biden laptop story ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election and cooperation with the US military to boost psychological operations accounts.*Facebook is banned in Russia over extremist activities.


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