Republican lawmakers have been firing back in response to Elon Musk’s Friday release of the “Twitter Files 6” after it exposed the FBI’s role in the unprecedented censorship of the American people.
The latest installment of the “Twitter Files” shows FBI agents routinely coordinated with Twitter executives to censor Americans who expressed wrongthink on the social media platform.
Several Republicans have responded by vowing to take action over the clear violation of the First Amendment.
Musk tasked independent reporter Matt Taibbi to drop dozens of tweets about the new “Twitter Files” on Friday.
The sixth installment details the FBI’s ties with the social media platform.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said the FBI will be called before Congress to explain this connection.
“[The FBI] has a lot to answer for after the latest drop of Twitter Files 6,” Gaetz tweeted Friday.
.@FBI has a lot to answer for after the latest drop of #TwitterFiles6 @Jim_Jordan @RepMikeJohnson @RepAndyBiggsAZ @RepDanBishop and I will be asking the questions.
Clear your calendar.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 16, 2022
During a segment of Sean Hannity’s Fox News show Rep. James Comer (R-KY) similarly blasted the FBI.
“Anyone that cares about free speech should be outraged,” Comer said.
“Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, this has to stop.”
The GOP House Judiciary Committee account, which is managed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) added: “Does anyone still trust the FBI?”
Does anyone still trust the FBI?
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) December 16, 2022
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) speculated the FBI’s alleged interactions with Twitter could suggest that federal agents were working with Google and Facebook as well.
And if FBI used Twitter to censor, you bet they also used Google and Facebook
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 16, 2022
Taibbi began the thread on Friday by sharing screenshots of emails between former Twitter Trust and Safety Chief Yoel Roth and members of the FBI.
“The #TwitterFiles are revealing more every day about how the government collects, analyzes, and flags your social media content,” Taibbi wrote.
“Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive as if it were a subsidiary.”
“Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth… a surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts.”
Taibbi highlighted the FBI’s own social media task force, which was established after the 2016 presidential election, assigned as many as “80 agents” to monitor social media activity in an effort to locate potential election interference.
The journalist shared an email from November 5, 2022, from the FBI’s National Election Command Post to the agency’s field office in San Francisco, where Twitter Headquarters is located.
The email includes a lengthy list of Twitter accounts that “may warrant additional action” as the accounts were “being utilized to spread misinformation about the upcoming election.”
Another email on November 6, shows FBI Agent Elvis Chan forwarded the list to “Twitter folks.”
Taibbi also shared a November 10 email sent to “Twitter contacts” from an FBI official listing multiple Twitter accounts that “may potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service.”
Some of the accounts included tweets that were posted as jokes, Taibbi highlighted, but they were apparently banned.
19.Agent Chan passed the list on to his "Twitter folks": pic.twitter.com/eXaZnC3I7y
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 16, 2022
“HELLO TWITTER CONTACTS”: The master-canine quality of the FBI’s relationship to Twitter comes through in this November 2022 email, in which “FBI San Francisco is notifying you” it wants action on four accounts: pic.twitter.com/LjgB6fxENo
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) December 16, 2022
A spokesperson for the FBI issued a statement in response to the “Twitter Files.”
The FBI claims the federal agency’s communication was part of an effort to ensure national security.
The statement claims that the FBI only offered the information to Twitter and allowed the private company to make its own decisions.
“The FBI regularly engages with private sector entities to provide information specific to identified foreign malign influence actors’ subversive, undeclared, covert, or criminal activities,” the spokesperson wrote.
“Private sector entities independently make decisions about what, if any, action they take on their platforms and for their customers after the FBI has notified them.”
House Republicans will get an opportunity to further question the FBI and intelligence officials, as well as others, when they are sworn in as the majority in January 2023.
At that time, Republicans will lead committee majorities and gain the power to launch House investigations.