Latest Twitter Files installment shows government officials demanding censorship of accounts they disagreed with

For the past few months, Twitter CEO Elon Musk has allowed a select group of independent journalists to review the social media platform’s internal communications and documents for evidence of bias and censorship, often at the direction of government officials, to share with the public.

In the latest addition to the Twitter Files, journalist Matt Taibbi highlighted efforts by Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and a State Department official to have Twitter censor and delete numerous accounts simply for posting things they disagreed with, Breitbart reported.

The stated purpose of Taibbi’s most recent thread of tweets was to call out and expose the decidedly selective coverage of the mainstream media’s reporting with regard to the damning information he and others have brought to light over the past few months.

Sen. King flagged “suspicious” accounts critical of him

Taibbi’s tweet thread on Saturday first took note of how little media coverage there had been for prior revelations about voluminous and widespread demands from government officials for social media censorship and “moderation” and how Twitter itself largely ceded such authority to the “U.S. intelligence community,” but were quick to report at great length about how former President Donald Trump once requested that an obscene tweet from actress Chrissy Teigen be taken down.

“Purely to show the bankruptcy of media in this area, let’s introduce a pair of loud new data points, and see if any press figures at all cover either of them,” he wrote. “If a president freaking out about one tweeter is news, surely a U.S. Senator finking on three hundred-plus of his constituents also must be?”

Taibbi proceeded to reveal how Sen. King, an “independent” who always caucuses with Democrats, had sent Twitter a document in 2018 that listed more than 300 supposedly “suspicious” accounts that he or others had flagged for a variety of reasons, including being “excited” about a visit from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), were prolific daily tweeters, had interacted with a political rival, or mentioned “immigration.”

Indeed, the linked document — a similar version of which was sent to Facebook — shows that the overwhelming majority of those flagged accounts were dismissively labeled by the senator as being a “bot” or “troll” that had tweeted critically about King, engaged with rivals, or posted about things like “QAnon,” gun rights, and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, among other things.

State Department official demanded Twitter “delete” specific flagged accounts

In the interest of bipartisanship, Taibbi also exposed an April 2020 email to Twitter from purported Republican diplomat Mark Lenzi — who has sued the State Department over alleged exposure to the vaguely defined “Havana syndrome” — that demanded the platform “delete” the accounts of 14 specific users who had expressed skepticism over the political establishment’s “Russiagate” anti-Trump narratives.

Lenzi asserted that the flagged users he wanted Twitter to “look into and delete” were “Russian government-controlled accounts” engaged in spreading “disinformation” — a request that Taibbi characterized as “a clear First Amendment issue.”

“A ballooning federal censorship bureaucracy”

As a reminder of the seriousness of what he and others had been exposing, Taibbi also resurfaced in that thread a Nov. 2020 email to Twitter from the office of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) that called for the suspension of two conservative journalists and censorship of “any and all” information about his staffers.

“The real story emerging in the #TwitterFiles is about a ballooning federal censorship bureaucracy that’s not aimed at either the left or the right per se, but at the whole population of outsiders, who are being systematically defined as threats,” Taibbi wrote to conclude his thread, and added as a preview, “Beginning in March, we’ll start using the Twitter Files to tell this larger story about how Americans turned their counterterrorism machinery against themselves, to disastrous effect, through little-known federal agencies like the Global Engagement Center (GEC).”

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