In his latest “Twitter Files” dump revealing just how in bed with the left Twitter execs were pre-Musk’s takeover, reporter Matt Taibbi exposed how Twitter higher-ups discussed among themselves that Democrats’ claims of “Russian bots” promoting “fake news” on the site wasn’t backed by evidence - but that didn’t stop leftists politicians from peddling the line anyway.
Nor did Twitter do anything to publicly counter the claims they knew weren’t true.
In this report, Taibbi points to the popular 2018 hashtag “#ReleaseTheMemo,” which references a confidential document assembled by a few House Republicans led by Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes who were seeking to expose how the FBI had misused the Steele dossier to unlawfully obtain a FISA warrant to spy on then-candidate Donald Trump in a political effort to prove he had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.
As it turned out, Nunes' assertions were entirely true.
What wasn’t true, however, was that the #ReleaseTheMemo online Twitter campaign was merely “disinformation” being pushed by Russian bots in order to sow discord among Americans and rile up conservatives, a claim made by many Democrats and published as gospel by liberal media outlets (like Rolling Stone, as just one example among many).
According to internal discussions revealed by Taibbi, Twitter employees and department heads, even after expending "a lot of resources" looking into those claims, couldn’t find any evidence that the hashtag campaign was in any way linked to Russian actors or bots. Instead, all evidence suggested it was a sincere online campaign fueled by conservatives who genuinely wanted the truth to be released. In fact, an internal review by Twitter determined that the hashtag “appear[s] to be organically trending.”
Those discussions among Twitter execs also show that even the higher-ups at the company were concerned that Democrats were claiming Russian influence without any proof, and that Twitter was being smeared right along with Trump thanks to that false claim.
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“We are feeding congressional trolls,” one person wrote of House Democrats’ ongoing efforts to force Twitter to link the hashtag campaign to Russian influencers.
“Not any…significant activity connected to Russia,” wrote another.
“Putting the cart before the horse assuming this is propaganda/bots,” added a third.
3.Twitter officials were aghast, finding no evidence of Russian influence:— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 12, 2023
“We are feeding congressional trolls.”
“Not any…significant activity connected to Russia.”
“Putting the cart before the horse assuming this is propaganda/bots.” pic.twitter.com/r8O21QacME
Taibbi added that any attempt by Twitter officials to tell House Democrats and the liberal media that their claims of Russian influence were unsubstantiated “were roundly ignored.”
“On January 23rd, 2018, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) published an open letter saying the hashtag ‘gained the immediate attention and assistance of social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations,’” Taibbi noted.
As the source for their claims, Democrats all appeared to point back to something called Hamilton 68, an initiative created by ex-FBI counterintelligence official Clint Watts for a group called “Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD).” But the group was purporting to know the social media trend was being fueled by Russia without ever actually asking Twitter for internal evidence of that.
Twitter officials weren’t happy about it - and they apparently said as much to Democrats, including Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who continued to press the company to make the story-Russia link while publicly blasting the platform for supposedly allowing Russian bots to run rampant on their site.
25.They expressed this explicitly to Blumenthal’s camp, saying “Twitter spent a lot of resources” on this request and the reward from Blumenthal shouldn’t be round after round of requests.”— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 12, 2023
“We can’t do a user notice each time this happens.” pic.twitter.com/pcixoeYIyH
But despite knowing that Democrats’ and the media’s public claims of Russian-backed disinformation were, in fact, disinformation themselves, Twitter officials stopped shy of going public with their dissent, instead keeping their concerns quiet while leftist outlets ran wild with provably false headlines purporting “Russian influence" in order to dismiss Nunes' memo.
A memo that ended up being proven entirely true.
In the meantime, the American people were being told there was nothing to Nunes' report (there was), that the FBI was entirely stalwart and true (they weren't), that the Steel Dossier was tantamount to the Bible (it was a lie), that the FISA court hadn't been misused (it was), that Donald Trump was definitely in bed with the Russians (he wasn't), and that anyone who contradicted those claims was just a Russian bot trying to "destroy democracy."
Which, as we've all know definitively seen, they weren't.
Not that it amounts to a hill of beans now.