Twitter Files: US Government, Media Peddled Russia Bot Hoax Despite Pushback From Platform
© AMY OSBORNEThe Twitter logo is seen at their headquarters on April 26, 2022 in downtown San Francisco, California.
© AMY OSBORNE
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US government officials and media outlets promoted conspiracies about Russian bot activity on Twitter despite pushback and evidence to the contrary from the social media company, reporter Matt Taibbi said on Thursday in the latest release of the so-called Twitter Files.
In January 2018, Twitter users began posting the hashtag "ReleaseTheMemo" in support of the declassification of a memorandum by then-Congressman Devin Nunes, which detailed flaws in the FBI’s investigation of alleged collusion between former President Donald Trump and Russia.
In response, Democrats denounced the memorandum, claiming it was boosted by Russian "bots" and not an organic social media movement, even after Twitter informed the lawmakers that they found no signs that the movement was affiliated with Russia.
"Twitter warned politicians and media they not only lacked evidence, but had evidence the accounts weren’t Russian – and were roundly ignored," Taibbi said. "Execs eventually grew frustrated over what they saw as a circular process – presented with claims of Russian activity, even when denied, led to more claims."
Nevertheless, Twitter went on to follow a pattern of not challenging the claims regarding Russia on the record, Taibbi said. Consequently, a number of US media outlets continued to push the Russian bots narrative despite a lack of evidence, Taibbi added.
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The lawmakers contributed to one of the "greatest outbreaks of mass delusion in US history" by spreading the Russian collusion hoax and attempting to discredit Nunes’ memorandum, the congressman said in a statement. The contents of Nunes’ memorandum were verified in a December 2019 report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
The Twitter Files are based on internal information and released in coordination with Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who committed to reforming the social media company after acquiring it last year.