FTC Orchestrated Aggressive Campaign to Harass Twitter After Elon Musk Takeover: House Panel

The House panel investigating the weaponization of the federal government said Tuesday the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has orchestrated “an aggressive campaign to harass Twitter” as part of its “unusual response” to Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social network.

The Committee on the Judiciary and the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government released an interim report highlighting the FTC’s apparent overreach in making more than 350 specific demands for information within a period of less than three months after Musk took the helm.

According to the report, the federal agency inundated Twitter with demands to reveal information about hiring and firing decisions and “every internal communication relating to Elon Musk.”

Particularly concerning for the panel, the FTC wanted the names of journalists who were granted access to internal Twitter files during their work “to expose abuses by Big Tech and the federal government.”

Among others, the FTC sent over 60 letters demanding information about Twitter’s subscription product alone. The agency also demanded to know if Twitter was “selling its office equipment” and “all of the reasons” why former FBI official Jim Baker was fired.

“These demands have no basis in the FTC’s statutory mission and appear to be the result of partisan pressure to target Twitter and silence Musk,” the report states (pdf).

The committee said it recently obtained dozens of nonpublic FTC letters to Twitter, which it noted fall directly within its authority to investigate and report “on instances of the federal government’s authority being weaponized against U.S. citizens.”

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Elon Musk Says He Might Put A Propaganda Warning Label On CNN’s Tweets

Twitter owner Elon Musk suggested Monday that he may be compelled to place propaganda warnings on tweets posted by CNN after it emerged that the network actively discouraged staff not to look into or share any COVID lab origin information.

Fox News reports that an inside source at CNN has charged that the former president Jeff Zucker gave the order to everyone at CNN to back off any talk about COVID having originated in a Chinese lab, labelling it a “Trump talking point.”

After a bombshell leak revealed that the Department of Energy has concluded, in addition to the State Department and the FBI, that the virus did likely leak from the Wuhan lab, the CNN insider said “People are slowly waking up from the fog,” adding “It is kind of crazy that we didn’t chase it harder.”

Not only did CNN back off the lab leak theory, it began actively trying to debunk it with minions like Oliver Darcy writing stories headlined “Here’s how to debunk coronavirus misinformation and conspiracy theories from friends and family.”

With all of this in mind, Musk responded Monday to a Twitter user who asked him, “When are you going to label CNN as State Affiliated Media?”

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Elon Musk’s Twitter Goes Dark on Government Data Grabs

TWITTER BOSS ELON Musk has railed against what he sees as U.S. government attempts to “censor” the social media company. 

“As (outgoing) Chair of House Intelligence, did you approve hidden state censorship in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States @RepAdamSchiff?” he asked one congressman in a tweet last December.

Musk has also promised, over and over again, to build a more transparent Twitter — one that makes it clear when a government agency requests a user’s data, or asks to take an account offline. “Transparency is the key to trust,” he tweeted around the same time. 

For a decade, Twitter published rundowns twice a year of all of those government requests. But under Musk, that appears to have ended. 

Despite Musk’s rhetoric about government bullying of social media, his company hasn’t published one of the formerly regular transparency reports detailing what governments are demanding from Twitter — and whether the company is bending to them.

It’s a development that’s horrified privacy advocates and former Twitter employees alike.

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Elon Musk: “Most Are Oblivious” to the Danger of World War 3

Tesla founder Elon Musk warned that “most are oblivious to the danger” of World War 3 as the conflict in Ukraine continues to escalate.

The comment was in response to a speech by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to the General Assembly on Monday during which he expressed his fear that humanity was marching toward a “wider war” with its “eyes wide open”.

“Could we please not do WWIII,” asked commentator Luke Rudkowski.

“Most are oblivious to the danger,” responded Musk.

Despite Musk providing his SpaceX Starlink satellite internet systems to the Ukrainian government, supporters of prolonging the war have attacked Musk for calling for peace.

Last week, Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, even claimed, without evidence, that Musk was restricting the reach of pro-Ukraine Twitter accounts in order to help spread “Russian propaganda”.

“Maybe a regulator is needed to explain competition rules to the owner?” Podoliak suggested.

The Twitter CEO previously warned that the “relentless escalation” of the conflict in Ukraine was placing the security of the world in jeopardy.

In January, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock caused consternation after saying “we are fighting a war against Russia.”

This prompted Croatian President Zoran Milanovic to respond by calling the remark “madness” and wishing Germany better luck than with the last war they had with Russia 70 years ago.

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Elon Musk Names Obscure Agency as ‘Worst Offender’ in US Government Censorship

Twitter CEO Elon Musk has pointed to a little-known government agency as the “worst offender” in terms of U.S. government censorship and media manipulation, alleging that it flagged Twitter accounts for suppression based on dubious criteria like promoting the lab leak theory of COVID-19 origins.

In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Musk named the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) as a “threat to our democracy” and pointed to independent journalist Matt Taibbi’s extensive Jan. 3 thread that delves into the agency’s interactions with Twitter on content censorship.

Taibbi’s thread that Musk pointed to for more details on the GEC’s activity includes internal correspondence among Twitter executives that indicates that even they took a dim view of engagement with the GEC, considering it “political” and “press-happy” and as having a “track record of actively advancing specific ideological agendas.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to the GEC with a request for comment but received no response by publication.

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Western Governments Keep Assigning Themselves The Authority To Regulate Online Speech

Depending on what political echo chamber you’ve been viewing it from, the ongoing release of information about the inner workings of pre-Musk Twitter known as “the Twitter Files” might look like the bombshell news story of the century, or it might look like a complete nothingburger whose importance is being wildly exaggerated by the far right.

From where I’m sitting, the Twitter Files look like entirely newsworthy revelations which add new detail to information that had already been spilling out about the way government agencies have been inserting themselves into Silicon Valley’s processes of regulating online speech. Right wing punditry has of course been exaggerating the significance of the releases and spinning them in all kinds of disingenuous ways, and Musk himself plainly has a partisan agenda in releasing the information in the way that he has been, but it’s not actually difficult to separate that from the value of the information being released.

Many liberals and leftists have struggled to grasp this (in my view simple and obvious) distinction, but we’re now seeing articles coming out in publications like The Guardian and Jacobin explaining to their respective audiences that it should actually concern anyone who opposes government tyranny to see secretive agencies taking it upon themselves to control the way people talk to each other on the internet.

“Make no mistake: while some criticisms of the project coming from left of center certainly have merit, that doesn’t mean the disclosures aren’t important, or that the accuracy of the information contained in the files is somehow undermined by the political slant of some of those reporting on it,” writes Jacobin’s Branko Marcetic. “The Twitter Files give us an unprecedented peek behind the curtain at the workings of Twitter’s opaque censorship regime, and expose in greater detail the secret and ongoing merger of social media companies and the US national security state.”

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Elon Musk endorses Church-style committee to probe FBI’s engagement in social media censorship

New Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday endorsed the idea of creating a commission, similar to the historic Church Committee, to probe why the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community are involved in online censorship.

“Hear, hear!!” Musk tweeted in response to a tweet from venture capitalist David Sacks, who said: “We need a new Church Commission to investigate why the FBI and Intelligence Community are engaged in social media censorship, including the suppression of the Hunter Biden story.”

The so-called Twitter Files have revealed federal law enforcement’s questionable involvement in suppressing news stories, such as the one about Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Sacks’ tweet was in response to a video from 1975 posted by Blaze Media CEO Tyler Carditis. The video showed Idaho Sen. Frank Church telling NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. … Now that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies we must know. At the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left.”

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NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC Have Spent Just 14 MINUTES Combined Covering The ‘Twitter Files’

The major left leaning U.S. news networks have spent only 14 minutes between them covering Elon Musk’s ongoing release of the Twitter files, which have highlighted a policy of censorship based on the partisan political alignment of woke former company executives and employees.

The data drops, which have also revealed that former Twitter execs, were regularly meeting with U.S. intelligence officials and policing content at their behest, have been almost completely ignored by the likes of CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS.

Fox News reports that Grabian’s analysis of news transcripts shows the term “Twitter files” has only been used six times by anchors.

The report notes that “CNN covered the story for three minutes, only on Dec. 9, while MSNBC spent two minutes on the story the same day, as well as five minutes on Dec. 11 and four minutes on Dec. 12.”

“CBS News, ABC News, and NBC News have not discussed the Twitter files in the last week,” it adds.

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Deep State interference was a conspiracy theory, until it wasn’t

Under the direction of Elon Musk, troves of files regarding Twitter’s dealings have been made public. We’re seeing just how much government bureaucrats colluded with the tech company to justify the suppression of stories which detailed the extent of the Biden family corruption. We can safely assume that government officials also had discussions with other media outlets because the suppression of the story was almost universal. Any journalist worth a lick would have known about the kickbacks to Hunter from Burisma, and would have been aware of the video which recorded Joe Biden dangling $1 billion of taxpayer money to coerce the Ukrainian government to fire a prosecutor looking into the corruption.

Now, most media outlets are also suppressing the Twitter Files. These agencies are clearly more outraged at Musk’s transparency than with government interference in elections, which just illustrates the media’s willingness to aid and abet. They are clearly out to silence Musk.

When Trump and other conservatives talked about a “Deep State” of government bureaucrats, the complicit media called the claim a conspiracy theory — yet when bureaucrats seek to control the narrative and talking points and subjugate what should be a free press, that is exactly what we’re talking about.

The media and other government officials claimed that everything Dr. Fauci said was gospel, no matter how much he got wrong. They squelched people who disagreed so the public wouldn’t challenge government edicts. They falsely labeled the theory that the Wuhan lab was the origin source as a disproven conspiracy theory.

The Washington Post ran a story mocking the notion there may be nefarious actors in our unchecked federal agencies which was titled, “The ‘deep state’: From scholarly critique to toxic conspiracy theory”. The piece read:

Even Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-diseases expert, who has become America’s Doctor in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, has been accused of being a deep state actor.

One of the silliest efforts to discredit the entrenchment of a “Deep State” was made by CNN, which declared:

President Donald Trump is deeply invested in the idea that there is a ‘Deep State’ embedded within the government bureaucracy – and centered in the Department of Justice – which actively worked to defeat him in 2016 and then sought to undermine him once he won the presidency.

That conspiracy theory, which has never had much merit, suffered a near-fatal blow Friday afternoon when the Department of Justice declined to pursue criminal charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

That might be the most ridiculous circular logic I’ve ever read — there’s no “Deep State” because a corrupt government bureaucracy failed to find fault in one of their own. Gee, that’s convincing.

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