Key takeaways 1–3 are here.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is responding to Twitter Files revealing that the agency regularly contacted employees at the social media giant to notify them of accounts that “may” constitute violations of the company’s terms of service.
FBI officials told Fox News that the agency didn’t ask Twitter employees to “take action” based on the information provided, and said the information was provided so that Twitter employees can make a determination on whether to take action.
“We are providing it so that they can take whatever action they deem appropriate under their terms of service to protect their platform and protect their customers, but we never direct or ask them to take action,” the FBI officials said.Jake Gibson, Adam Sabes, “FBI responds to Twitter Files disclosures, says it didn’t request ‘any action’ on specific tweets” at Fox News (December 21, 2022)
It gets better:
In a statement shared with Fox News, an FBI spokesperson said “The correspondence between the FBI and Twitter show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements, which involve numerous companies over multiple sectors and industries. As evidenced in the correspondence, the FBI provides critical information to the private sector in an effort to allow them to protect themselves and their customers.”
“The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency,” the spokesperson added.Jake Gibson, Adam Sabes, “FBI responds to Twitter Files disclosures, says it didn’t request ‘any action’ on specific tweets” at Fox News (December 21, 2022)
In the absence of any apparent crime, there is little reason for a police agency to have such a role. And, in truth, conspiracy theorists would have had a hard time making up the state of affairs at Twitter: Child porn was easily accommodated but MDs who sounded the alarm about the consequences of government COVID lockdown policies were suppressed.
The situation is not doing the FBI’s reputation any good.
5.The legacy media, which has generally shown little interest in the Twitter files’ revelations re the FBI, was incensed when new owner Elon Musk suspended nine journalists for posting his private location. The journalists have since been reinstated. Some say they deserved it but at Wikipedia, the incident has been described as the Thursday Night Massacre (Twitter). At Spiked Online, editor Tom Slater commented,
All of a sudden, America’s corporate media have woken up to the threat of Big Tech censorship. After years of ‘liberal’ journalists agitating for Twitter, Facebook and the rest to censor people they dislike, repeating all the same platitudes about ‘misinformation’ and ‘hate speech’, insisting that being banned from the digital public square is really no different to being banned by a fast-food joint, they’re now all reaching for their JS Mill and railing against the tyranny of Silicon Valley.
Welcome, comrades! What took you so long? Only, of course, these people still don’t care one bit about free speech and are only really outraged now because, for once, it is people they know, like and agree with who are being censored.Tom Slater, “Oh, so now you care about Big Tech censorship?” at Spiked Online (December 18, 2022)
6.Amid the mass exodus from Twitter and the resulting howls of outrage, a few more facts are beginning to emerge about how the firm was run before Musk bought it. Not well, it seems. Former Twitter security head Pieter Zatko made far less of a splash with his revelations last summer about the woeful state of Twitter security. Now, further from his lawyers:
According to the legal papers filed by Zatko’s attorneys, more than half of the company’s 11,000 full-time employees “had privileged access to Twitter’s production systems.” That’s a security nightmare, particularly now that it’s come to light that “Twitter didn’t monitor employee computers at all,” and that “it was not uncommon for employees to install spyware on work devices.”
During the overtly political commotion behind the scenes during the January 6 protests, Zatko “wanted to take action to prevent potential sabotage by a rogue employee,” but “he learned it was not possible for Twitter to secure its production environment.”
What was really going on? Not even the company’s own management could say for sure.Stephen Green, “It’s Official: Before Musk, Twitter Was the Worst-Run Tech Company in the World” at PJ Media (December 12, 2022)
About that mass exodus of 3 out of every 5 employees, economist Jeffrey A. Tucker asks, why did Musk think he could make do with a much leaner work force? Tucker’s view is disconcerting but worth hearing:
Regardless, it’s tremendously interesting that so many thousands of people making high salaries could be suddenly sent packing and yet the platform continues to function just fine. If you have ever spent time in mainstream American corporate culture, you know why. Vast numbers of employees do absolutely nothing. Worse, they do something: they make work for themselves by making the work of others harder. They subtract value from the firm rather than add to it…
Elon Musk knows as much about this problem as anyone. So when he took over Twitter, he found exactly what he expected to find: a cushy, puffy, lazy gaggle of entitled do-nothings. Worse, vast swaths of the staff were infected with woke ideology to the point that they believed they were paid to have the right opinions rather than do something useful.Jeffrey A. Tucker, “How Did Elon Musk Know That Twitter Staff Was So Bloated?” at Epoch Times (November 23, 2022)
Musk doubtless made mistakes when trimming the work force but Tucker is surely right in sensing that much of the outrage springs from a sense of entitlement to that kind of a job, a sense largely unknown to most of the workforce.
You may also wish to read: Three key takeaways (1–3) from the Twitter Files and their fallout. Twitter Files 7 dropped yesterday and it features the close relationship between Twitter and the FBI. Even top execs at Twitter were perhaps not fully in accord with what the government, Big Business, and Big Tech wanted. How many felt forced to do it anyway?