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U.S. Government Demanded Twitter Suspend 250,000 accounts, Including Journalists

Two new “Twitter files” document dumps, released Tuesday, reveal details about how the relationship between Twitter, the U.S. intelligence apparatus, and federal and state agencies was “formalized.”

Journalist Matt Taibbi, in a long series of tweets, released the two latest “Twitter files” installments, which he titled, “How Twitter Let the Intelligence Community In” and “Twitter and the FBI ‘Belly Button.’”

The latest documents demonstrate how Twitter, despite some initial resistance, capitulated to stifling pressure from the government and from complicit media outlets and academic actors to crack down on supposed Russian and Chinese influence on the platform and to ban specific accounts.

Such pressure included threats by the Global Engagement Center (GEC) — an arm of the U.S. Department of State — to publicize a list of 250,000 Twitter accounts that were following “two or more” Chinese diplomatic accounts. According to Taibbi, this list was derived from Department of Homeland Security (DHS) data.

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