Friday, December 23, 2022

For the Record: The Twitter Files


There's just so much news flooding in before I can absorb it, I'm thinking maybe I just have to resign myself to being a week or so behind on everything. I don't want to let go of the efforts of Mr. Musk's Kancelculture Kids to expose the woke leftist FBI's brutal censorship efforts at Twitter, where they succeeded in silencing the entire NewsCorp organization for [checks notes] a full day before Twitter changed its mind and its policy, in October 2020, nearly spoiling Rupert's special October Surprise revelations of Shirtless Hunter. 

Installment #7 of "The Twitter Files", by noted plastic straw advocate Michael Shellenberger, showed up on Tuesday to defend the story he, Weiss, and Taibbi have been developing: 

I mean, for one thing, the story of the blind computer repairman John Paul Mac Isaac turning the laptop over to the FBI was dodgy enough, the way Mac Isaac told it:

Throughout the interview, Mac Isaac switched back and forth from saying he reached out to law enforcement after viewing the files in the laptop to saying that it was actually the Federal Bureau of Investigation that contacted him. At one point, Mac Isaac claimed that he was emailing someone from the FBI about the laptop. At another point he claimed a special agent from the Baltimore office had contacted him after he alerted the FBI to the device’s existence. At another point, he said the FBI reached out to him for “help accessing his drive.”
 But then the fact that he seemed to have made multiple copies of the machine's hard disk before surrendering it to the authorities, and developed a relationship with Trump's on-and-off attorney Rudolf Giuliani to distribute it to the Murdoch operation makes it dodgier still, especially considering the history of Giuliani's pursuit of Hunter Biden, by fair means and foul, in 2019-20:

Also, the FBI does not "pay Twitter to censor". For this I'll just refer you to the genial Mike Masnick at TechDirt, who's been doing heroic work busting the Taibbi-Weiss deception:

What the files show is that the FBI would occasionally (not very often, frankly) use reporting tools to alert Twitter to accounts that potentially violated Twitter’s rules. When the FBI did so, it was pretty clear that it was just flagging these accounts for Twitter to review, and had no expectation that the company would or would not do anything about it. In fact, they are explicit in their email that the accounts “may potentially constitute violations of Twitter’s Terms of Service” and that Twitter can take “any action or inaction deemed appropriate within Twitter policy.”

The reported payments were reimbursement required by law for Twitter's cooperation with a court-ordered 2703(d) request for information in an FBI investigation; we don't know what, and it could be scandalous in its own right, because the whole secret process is repleent, as Masnick points out, but it's about Twitter giving material to the Bureau, not the Bureau ordering Twitter what not to publish:

they can seek to obtain subscriber info, transaction records, retrieved communications, and unretrieved communications stored for more than 180 days (in the past, we’ve long complained about the whole 180 days thing, but that’s another issue).

You know what’s not on that list? “Censoring people.” It’s just not a thing. The reimbursement that is talked about in that email is about complying with these information production orders that have been reviewed and signed by a judge.

And finally, in installment #8, another writer, Lee Fang (another Democrat-hater but one who still identifies as a leftist, and a better reporter in my opinion), discovered some Twitter Files examples of government bullying Twitter, but it wasn't a woke FBI: it was the Trump Department of Defense, asking Twitter to whitelist some probably unlawful sock puppet accounts to boost Trump Middle East policy: 

Cross-posted at The Rectification of Names.

Musician David Peel, ca. 1972, in an FBI file photo misidentified as a picture of John Lennon (who produced Peel's 1972 album "The Pope Smokes Dope), via Muckrock.

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