Twitter Files: It Knew Dem Claims of ‘Russian Bots’ Were False

Twitter Files: It Knew Dem Claims of ‘Russian Bots’ Were False

January 13, 2023

A new release of the Twitter Files provides further evidence that the social media giant was aware that claims of “Russian bots” on the platform, made by Democrats and the media, were wildly exaggerated or outright fabrications. And yet Twitter continued to promote the conspiracy theory publicly.

“Twitter warned politicians and media the[y] not only lacked evidence, but had evidence the accounts weren’t Russian – and were roundly ignored,” wrote journalist Matt Taibbi, who released the latest batch of the Twitter Files.

One prominent example highlighted by Taibbi is when former Congressman Devin Nunes submitted his classified memo to the House Intelligence Committee, exposing FBI abuses in using FISA courts to approve surveillance against individuals linked to Trump, and the critical role played by the discredited Steele Dossier.

Democrats including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), along with Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) claimed that Russian bots were boosting the Nunes report through the hashtag “#ReleaseTheMemo.”

“We find it reprehensible that Russian agents have so eagerly manipulated innocent Americans,” wrote Blumenthal, in a letter to Jack Dorsey, then CEO of Twitter.

But Twitter could not find any significant evidence of Russian bots boosting the hashtag. “I just reviewed the accounts that posted the first 50 tweets with #releasethememo and… none of them show any signs of affiliation to Russia,” wrote Yoel Roth, who would briefly become head of Trust & Safety under Elon Musk, in an email to colleagues.

But “[d]espite universal internal conviction that there were no Russians in the story,” wrote Taibbi, “Twitter went on to follow a slavish pattern of not challenging Russia claims on the record.”

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