In December 2022, Elon Musk granted a group of journalists access to an archive of Twitter’s internal communications. These documents shed light on the coordination between the federal government and Twitter.
Among them is an email dated March 27, 2022, in which FBI Special Agent Aleksandr Kobzanets provided Twitter with a list of accounts compiled by Ukraine’s intelligence agency, the SBU.
Accounts suspected of spreading ‘fear and disinformation’
According to Kobzanets, these accounts were suspected of spreading fear and disinformation.
The email included a memo drafted by the SBU, urging Twitter to immediately block the specified Twitter accounts and provide user data collected during registration.
Twitter, SBU, FBI Collaboration – a potential ‘privacy violation’
This request raised concerns, as granting it would disclose sensitive information to the FBI and SBU, such as phone numbers, dates of birth, and email addresses.
Journalist Aaron Maté, one of the individuals named in the SBU memo, expressed his concern about the potential privacy violations associated with this collaboration.
Twitter reviews listed accounts, concerns over SBU’s naming of journalists raised
At the time, Yoel Roth, the head of Twitter’s Trust & Safety department, acknowledged that the company would review the listed accounts.
However, he raised his concerns about the SBU naming journalists from Western countries as disinformation agents.
Roth emphasized that Twitter would primarily focus on rule violations and inauthentic behavior, such as the presence of bots.
Pro-Russian news outlets with government associations violate Twitter rules
He stated that authentic news outlets and reporters with a pro-Russian perspective on the conflict were likely to be found violating Twitter’s rules if additional evidence established a covert or deceptive association with a government.
It is important to note that Twitter is one of many big tech platforms to have faced such requests from government agencies.
FBI’s attempt to enlist Facebook for user censorship raises concerns
Breitbart News reported that the FBI had also attempted to enlist Facebook’s assistance in censoring users on behalf of Ukraine.
These instances raise concerns about governments’ influence over social media platforms and the potential implications for freedom of speech and privacy.
Twitter-Government coordination may infringe on user’s rights
The revelations regarding the coordination between Twitter and government agencies in the context of censorship have sparked debates about the boundaries between private companies, governments, and individual freedoms.
Critics argue that these actions may infringe upon users’ rights to express their opinions and access diverse information.
They emphasize the need for transparency and accountability in such collaborations.
Musk’s disclosure reveals Government-Twitter censorship collaboration
Elon Musk’s disclosure of internal communications has shed light on the collaboration between the federal government and Twitter concerning censorship.
The email from the FBI to Twitter, requesting the blocking of specific accounts identified by Ukraine’s intelligence agency, has raised concerns about privacy and freedom of speech.
Big Tech-Government collaboration raises rights and transparency concerns
This incident, along with previous attempts by the FBI to involve Facebook in similar actions, highlights the complex relationship between big tech platforms and government agencies.
The implications for individual rights and the need for transparency in these collaborations have become subjects of intense scrutiny and debate.