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Twitter Files: US agency demanded suspension of 250,000 accounts

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Jan 04, 2023 - 08:08 AM

WASHINGTON (AA) – In the latest installment of the Twitter Files released Tuesday, it was claimed that a US government agency demanded the suspension of hundreds of thousands of accounts from the social media platform.

“US govt agency demanded suspension of 250K accounts, including journalists and Canadian officials!” said Twitter CEO Elon Musk, retweeting a revelation by journalist Matt Taibbi.

“The GEC report appeared based on DHS data circulated earlier that week, and included accounts that followed “two or more” Chinese diplomatic accounts. They reportedly ended up with a list “nearly 250,000” names long, and included Canadian officials and a CNN account,” said Taibbi in one tweet, referring to the Global Engagement Center, which he described as “a fledgling analytic/intelligence arm of the State Department.”

In another tweet, the office of Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff, who represents California, made requests for Twitter to suspend certain accounts.

Taibbi also that Twitter “received an astonishing variety of requests from officials asking for individuals they didn’t like to be banned.”

In November 2020, Schiff’s office requested that action be taken over “alleged harassment from QAnon conspiracists” against Schiff’s staff, including aide Sean Misko.

“Remove any and all content about Mr. Misko and other Committee staff from its service – to include quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content,” read one screenshot.

“Suspend the many accounts, including @GregRubini and @paulsperry, which have repeatedly promoted false QAnon conspiracies,” the request read.

The first series of the Twitter Files came out in early December, when Taibbi posted multiple tweets with a focus on discussions among the company’s staff on censoring a story about a laptop belonging to President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

The eleventh series on Tuesday also revealed that Twitter was also trying to reduce the number of agencies with access to Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth.

“If these folks are like House Homeland Committee and DHS, once we give them a direct contact with Yoel, they will want to come back to him again and again,” said policy director Carlos Monje, according to another tweet.

There was also an episode which Taibbi said led to a rare public disagreement between Twitter and state officials.

“When the FBI informed Twitter the GEC wanted to be included in the regular ‘industry call’ between companies like Twitter and Facebook and the DHS and FBI, Twitter leaders balked at first,” said one tweet.

“Facebook, Google, and Twitter executives were united in opposition to GEC’s inclusion, with ostensible reasons including, ‘The GEC’s mandate for offensive IO to promote American interests,” said another one.

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