A faction of the US State Department used its influence to get Americans banned from Twitter under its last ownership, journalist Matt Taibbi reports.
In a new batch of Twitter Files released on Thursday, Taibbi said that the taxpayer-funded Global Engagement Center, whose mission is to “coordinate US Federal Government efforts” to tackle “disinformation,” was actually helping snuff out users that belonged to “state-sponsored blacklists.”
Taibbi shows evidence that the GEC sent Twitter various reports on several topics that used a guilt-by-association, or “ecosystem” concept.
The GEC report on France “attributes membership in the yellow vest movement as being Russia-aligned,” Twitter’s Aaron Rodericks described.
GEC’s report on China was “more entertainment value than anything,” said Rodericks. “It equates anything pro-China, but also anything against China in Italy, as part of Russia's strategy.”
Taibbi revealed how the GEC would send journalists these blacklists, which would then give the journalist a reason to go to Twitter's door and “demand to know why this or that ‘ecosystem' isn't obliterated.”
Twitter would end up disagreeing with the GEC's notifications on some occasions, including when it resisted calls regarding Russian “disinfo” in South America.
Twitter's Yoel Roth was one of the staff that pointed out that the group Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) was “back at their old tricks,” referring to ASD's creation of created Hamilton 68, “another guilt-by-association scheme detailed in Twitter Files #15. The Hamilton ‘dashboard' claimed to track accounts linked to ‘Russian influence activities,' but the list was largely made up of Americans,” Matt Taibbi reports.
The creator of the Hamilton 68's dashboard, JM Berger, was on the GEC payroll until 2017.
Twitter's Aaron Rodericks wrote that the “GEC has doubled their budget by aggressively overstating threats through unverified accusations that can't be replicated either by external academics or by Twitter.”
Another company riddled with scandal is New Knowledge (NK), a group staffed by former NSA officials that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) hired to complete assessments of “suspect” Facebook and Twitter accounts tied to so-called disinformation.
Taiibi writes: “When Twitter saw New Knowledge and its reporter-worshipped “disinformation” gurus like Jonathon Morgan and Renee DiResta were making analytical leaps they felt were impossible, they knew something was off.
“After Politico cited a New Knowledge report to the SSCI as evidence for what it called a ‘sweeping effort to sow divisions,' Twitter dug in. NK pointed to five supposedly Russian accounts it said were ‘relatively easy to find with the Twitter public API.'
“Roth said two of the five accounts were a “small Indonesian content farm… just commercial spam. (Would suspend but don’t want to throw fire on the NK report by making anyone think they’re correct.) Becca account is an American and not at all suspicious.”
“Just like Hamilton 68, GEC and New Knowledge littered the media landscape with flawed or flat-out wrong news stories. Exacerbating matters, Americans in both cases paid taxes to become the subject of these manipulative operations,” Taibbi explained.