FBI flagged jokes and satirical accounts to Twitter for censorship

The sixth batch of Twitter Files, published on Twitter by journalist Matt Taibbi, has revealed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were regularly flagging content to Twitter for censorship between January 2020 and November 2022 and that some of the flagged content contained jokes and satirical comments.

According to Taibbi, there were more than 150 emails between the FBI and former Head of Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth and a “surprisingly high number” of these emails were FBI requests for Twitter to “take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts.”

Taibi noted that the the FBI’s social media-focused task force is known as FTIF and was created in the wake of the 2016 election. Since its inception, this task force has grown to 80 agents and corresponded with Twitter to “identify alleged foreign influence and election tampering of all kinds.”

Taibbi shared several examples of the FBI’s censorship requests and said Twitter employees would often look for reasons to suspend accounts after receiving these requests.

These censorship request emails reveal that the FBI would target both large and small accounts and sometimes issue preservation letters and request location information for the flagged accounts. Some of the large accounts that were flagged include those of Right Side Broadcasting Network (RSBN) (which has over 873,000 followers) and actor Billy Baldwin (which has over 204,000 followers). However, accounts with as few as 15 followers were also flagged to Twitter by the FBI.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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