‘Congressional Trolls:’ Twitter Files Show Company Knew Democrat Claims About ‘Russian Bots’ Were False

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A new release of the Twitter Files provides further evidence that the company was aware that claims of “Russian bots” on the platform, made by Democrats and the media, were wildly exaggerated or outright fabrications. Nevertheless, Twitter continued to indulge the Democrat and mainstream media-pushed conspiracy theory in public.

As Twitter attempted to placate Democrats on the hill with an appeasement strategy, humoring claims about Russian influence they knew were false, Twitter officials complained that the strategy amounted to “feeding congressional trolls.”

“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.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein holds her face mask as Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 13, 2020 in Washington, DC. Barrett was nominated by President Donald Trump to fill the vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away in September. (Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) speaks during the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the first day of her hearing on Capitol Hill on October 12, 2020 in Washington, DC. With less than a month until the presidential election, President Donald Trump tapped Amy Coney Barrett to be his third Supreme Court nominee in just four years. If confirmed, Barrett would replace the late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo by Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images)

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)  (Photo by Leah Millis-Pool/Getty Images)

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.

“We investigated, found that engagement as overwhelmingly organic, and driven by VITs.” VITs is a reference to Very Important Tweeters — prominent accounts that drive engagement.

Twitter then attempted to persuade Blumenthal that the allegations of Russian bot activity were overblown — only for Blumenthal to release his letter publicly, putting more PR pressure on the company.

“Blumenthal isn’t looking for real and nuanced solutions” but “just wants to get credit for pushing us further,” concluded one official at Twitter.

In addition to calling them “trolls,” Twitter officials compared the behavior of Russia-obsessed Democrats to the children’s story  “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

In the story, attempting to placate a hungry mouse by offering him a cookie only leads to endless demands for more snacks.

“I’m legit embarrassed I didn’t think of that first,” was how one Twitter executive described the metaphor.

Despite mocking the Democrats’ obsession with non-existent Russian influence operations behind closed doors, Twitter made virtually no attempt to warn the public that the “bot panic” was exactly that — a panic, motivated by politics and without basis in reality.

“Despite 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.”

1 COMMENT

  1. These Democrats are a disgrace to America and in my 82 years on this earth I have never seen
    such evil people that are supposed to be for helping the American people. They should be ashamed to call themselves Americans.

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