The FBI defended its actions in the face of fierce criticism rising from “The Twitter Files,” which revealed contacts between the bureau and Twitter executives.
The statement comes after one disclosure showed the FBI repeatedly warned Twitter employees about foreign election interference campaigns, after which the bombshell story about Hunter Biden’s laptop from the New York Post was censored by Twitter, and the FBI paying $3.4 million to cover the costs of processing the agency’s requests.
“The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries,” an FBI representative said, per a Fox News reporter.
“As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers,” the statement added.
As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers.
— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) December 21, 2022
“The Twitter Files” have been released across several installments by multiple journalists over the past few weeks. Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter in late October, has promoted their release.
“Part Six” showed instances in which the FBI agents communicated with Twitter content moderators, flagging posts that allegedly violated Twitter’s policies against election misinformation. As noted by journalist Matt Taibbi, who shared this installment, there was a “surprisingly high number” of requests from the FBI including those “involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts.”
An ensuing thread by author Michael Shellenberger on Monday showed a February 2021 email to FBI general counsel-turned-top Twitter lawyer James Baker which spoke of $3.4 million paid to the platform as reimbursement for a “legal process response.”
In response to this thread, Musk himself tweeted, “Government paid Twitter millions of dollars to censor info from the public.”
Government paid Twitter millions of dollars to censor info from the public https://t.co/eSEwcZlGjt
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2022
Musk fired Baker after prior disclosures showed Baker’s involvement in discussions about whether reporting about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the run-up to the 2020 election fell under Twitter’s “hacked materials” policy and should be suspended. “In light of concerns about Baker’s possible role in suppression of information important to the public dialogue, he was exited from Twitter today,” Musk tweeted.