Pentagon Was Secretly Behind Big Tech Censorship

( Twitter CEO Elon Musk allowed for the release of the Twitter Files recently, internal documents at the social media company that reveal how the company colluded with federal government agencies on everything from censorship to investigations.

One section released recently shows how Twitter cooperated with the Pentagon to promote materials of propaganda that are in line with the strategic geopolitical interests of the military.

Lee Fang of The Intercept released this section, which detailed requests from the Pentagon that Twitter either “whitelist” or verify a long list of accounts that it used to “amplify certain messages.” When accounts are whitelisted on Twitter, they become exempt from abuse and spam flags, and the messages they sent become likelier to trend.

Some of the verified accounts that belonged to CENTCOM — the U.S. Central Command — tweeted about U.S. military interests in the Middle East. Others touted their support for Saudi operations going on in Yemen that were backed by the U.S. military, and some still posted material that was negative toward Iran.

Fang wrote that Twitter was well aware of this large network of fake accounts that the Pentagon had, and they acted very slowly to ban them from the platform. He also wrote about prior submissions Twitter had made to Congress about how it was trying to combat manipulation of their platform by undisclosed accounts that were run by the government.

He wrote:

“The U.S. propaganda network relentlessly pushed narratives against Russia, China and other foreign countries. They accused Iran of ‘threatening Iraq’s water security and flooding the country with crystal meth,’ and of harvesting the organs of Afghan refugees.”

Many of these accounts eventually were suspended after a report released by the Stanford Internet Observatory revealed in August the details of this propaganda network.

But, Fang claimed that previous reports that Twitter was an unbiased company that was enforcing policies of its platform were wrong, and that the social media company in actuality aided government entities so they could violate the company’s terms of service.

Fang wrote:

“The reality is much more murky. Twitter actively assisted CENTCOM’s network going back to 2017 and as late as 2020 knew these accounts were covert/designed to deceive to manipulate the discourse, a violation of Twitter’s policies & promises. They waited years to suspend.”

The reporter continued that while Twitter was doing this for the American government, they were working hard to curtail similar information campaigns by foreign entities such as Venezuela and Russia.

He wrote:

“The conduct with the U.S. military’s covert network stands in stark contrast with how Twitter has boasted about rapidly identifying and taking down covert accounts tied to state-backed influence operations, including Thailand, Russia, Venezuela and others since 2016.”

The Twitter Files are certainly damning reports that are painting a very different picture of the social media platform’s last regime than many people thought about it.

Musk, though, has much different plans for Twitter, and a lot of that is playing out in his agreement to release these internal documents.