The FBI set up a command post ahead of the 2020 election and set up a nationwide system that conveyed election-related posts to social media platforms so the platforms could take them down, an FBI agent testified in a recent deposition.
The information would be provided by FBI field offices and the bureau’s headquarters about “disinformation,” primarily regarding the time, place, or manner of elections, according to Elvis Chan, the assistant special agent in charge of the Cyber Branch for FBI’s San Francisco Division. The posts were passed to the FBI San Francisco office’s command post, which was set up days before the election and run through election night.
The posts were then sent to Big Tech companies, Chan, the daytime commander of the post, said.
“From my recollection, we would receive some responses from the social media companies. I remember in some cases they would relay that they had taken down the posts. In other cases, they would say that this did not violate their terms of service,” Chan said. “In some cases when we shared information they would provide a response to us that they had taken them down. I would not say it was a 100 percent success rate. If I had to characterize it, I would say it was like a 50 percent success rate. But that’s just from my recollection.”
The “success rate” was defined by Chan as platforms taking some type of action because a post was determined to violate a platform’s terms of service.
San Francisco FBI officials were charged by top government authorities with serving as the final link in the chain because many of the Big Tech firms are headquartered in the area.
Chan was testifying on Nov. 29 during a deposition taken as part of the case alleging collusion between Big Tech and the government in censoring users. The transcript of the deposition was made public on Dec. 6.