If you were anything like me yesterday morning after I read Twitter’s email, your reaction was one of shock and disbelief. It discussed Russian-linked activities, accounts “potentially connected” to the Russian government, and Russian propaganda efforts that I had somehow contributed to during the 2016 election and it was almost too much for me to read. How could this have happened and more importantly, how could I have been so blind and naive as to think that the Russians wouldn’t try to recruit me? Of course hindsight is always 20/20 but I should have known better, liked less tweets, and holstered my retweeting finger because somehow, at some point, I had become an unwitting agent for Kremlin. The magnitude of it all hit me like a BelAZ 75600 and I sat stunned by the news for a good thirty minutes. I mean, what does one do in that type of situation? Reach out to Louise Mensch, tell Jake Tapper I never meant to hurt anyone? Did my neighbors suspect that I was a KGB agent? How would I face my loved ones? As I despaired, my heart went out to all the brave souls at Twitter who risked their lives to slay the Putin propaganda dragon and in that moment I realized that Twitter had become America’s life boat in a sea of Russian madness. “My god,” I whispered…
Okay, so no, none of that really happened although I’m sure Twitter and the U.S. government wished it did. What did happen was my utter shock that Twitter would admit in an email, among other things, that they essentially monitor everything we do on their platform as if they’re somehow entitled to do so. Not only that, the email literally started out with Twitter confessing to limiting free speech online,
As part of our recent work to understand Russian-linked activities on Twitter during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, we identified and suspended a number of accounts that were potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency.”
If you’re wondering how exactly Twitter identifies these problematic accounts look no further than Julian Assange who tweeted this out the other day,
And guess what? He’s right. Hamilton 68 is a website that indeed churns out anti-Russia propaganda and alleged Russian infiltration on Twitter. As an initiative of the Alliance for Securing Democracy that has been around since last August, according to Reuters, Hamilton 68 “seeks to track Russian-supported propaganda and disinformation on Twitter” and targets accounts that push information originating from such news outlets at RT and Sputnik. The initiative is supported by the murky German Marshall Fund (see this @realKyleOlbert thread) which oversees the Alliance for Securing Democracy whose advisory council is filled to the gills with guys like former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Mike Chertoff, The Weekly Standard’s Editor at Large, Bill Kristol, former Director of the CIA Mike Morell, Mike McFaul who helped push the Magnitsky Act, and Hillary’s BFF Jake Sullivan. So yes, the organization is obviously legit, completely unbiased, and here to help.
“Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing you because we have reason to believe that you either followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked content from these accounts during the election period.”
Yes, Twitter actually used the term “commitment to transparency” in their email which is astounding seeing that Project Veritas and journalist James O’Keefe literally just nailed them to the wall for their lack of transparency in the last week or so. In this uncover video, Pranay Singh, a direct messaging engineer at Twitter, admitted that Twitter not only keeps track of what you say both publicly and privately (DMs), that kind of information can be used against you such as telling your wife about your mistress which is the exactly what Singh said. But what I found to be the most disturbing thing O’Keefe caught on camera was Clay Haynes, a senior network security engineer at Twitter, stating that there are three to four hundred people paid to look at dick pics posted or sent via Twitter. With more than a few teenagers sexting these days and sending inappropriate pictures including dick pics over social media, Clay Haynes’ comments beg for an investigation into whether or not Twitter not only possesses child porn but also whether or not they indeed pay people to actively view it because that, my friends, is a federal offense.
As for Twitter’s comment in the email that “…we have reason to believe that you either followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked content from these accounts during the election period,” it’s a statement like that shows exactly how much monitoring Twitter is doing. This is no longer just about some dick pics in your DMs, this is about Twitter monitoring every single activity you do on Twitter–from who you follow, to what you retweet, to the tweets that you like. Hi Twitter, the NSA called. They want your data. What Twitter is doing is beyond unacceptable but here’s an even scarier thought: What if Twitter also tracks their foreign users’ activities and conversations and then passes that data on to the U.S. government. Imagine what the government could do with that information. In the past, Twitter has passed along their users’ DMs to Congress without any sort of warrant or subpoena so how surprised would you really be if this was happening?
“This is purely for your own information purposes, and is not related to a security concern for your account.”
I love how Twitter makes themselves out to be the local State Farm Insurance rep –“Like a good neighbor, Twitter is there”–by essentially admitting that they’re the newest addition to the Big Brother family and yet managing to sell it in such a manner that they’re only here to help. People should be concerned that the most concerning part about this statement is that Twitter is telling us there’s no need to be concerned. After admitting that they keep track of our activities and limit speech, Twitter clearly feels that they are beyond reproach and above any scrutiny when it comes to monitoring us or limiting free speech and that alone is cause for concern. As @LionelMedia pointed out, their admissions in the email have opened them up to First Amendment litigation and I’m hoping someone files soon. This kind of response is nothing short of a ballsy, out of control, and narcissistic stance for any company to take and the only purpose this email served information-wise is to remind us that 1984 is here and has been for awhile.
“We are sharing this information so that you can learn more about these accounts and the nature of the Russian propaganda effort. You can see examples of content from these suspended accounts on our blog if you’re interested.”
Sure, I’d love to click on the blog link that Twitter provided in their email for more information but then again, I’m to the point where I think Twitter might be in the phishing/malware game so I’m going to stick with “Thank you but no thank you.”
“People look to Twitter for useful, timely, and appropriate information. We are taking active steps to stop malicious accounts and Tweets from spreading, and we are determined to keep ahead of the tactics of bad actors. For example, in recent months we have developed new techniques to identify accounts manipulating our platform, have improved our process for challenging suspicious accounts, and have introduced new measures designed to identify and take action on coordinated malicious activity. In 2018, we are building on these improvement. Our blog also contains more information about these efforts.”
How exactly do they determine who the bad actors are or what is “coordinated malicious activity?” You want to know how I know this entire paragraph is a load of shite? Because everyday a bad actor (often times with a blue check) defames Julian Assange or calls for his assassination and nothing happens to their account. If there was a drop of legitimacy in Twitter’s policies then the accounts of people like Freedom of the Press board member Micah Lee who has defamed Assange on Twitter on more than one occasion would have had their accounts shut down. The fact that none of the accounts have been suspended or shut down is an obvious example of power, politics, and money at play.
And speaking of power, politics, and money at play, I’m not alone in suspecting that this email is nothing more than a distraction from the House Intel memo that American citizens are begging to be released. Of course if that’s the reason behind the email this might mean that the “the storm” is actually here. And no, that doesn’t give you bragging rights that you called a House Intel memo surfaces just because you’ve been hashtagging #TheStormIsComing, #TheStormIsHere, or just plain #TheStorm for the last ten months. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. And yes, stop being so easily offended, you know it’s true.
So what exactly do we know about the memo at this point? Well, for one it’s a classified four-page memo written by House Intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes and it may or may not include information on the FISA court, the dirty dossier, wiretapping, Russiagate, and even the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. According to several congressmen the information contained in it is “jaw-dropping,” “shocking”, “absolutely shocking,” “worse than watergate and they’ve all called for its release. However, with the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo exploding on Twitter, there are a few U.S. Representatives that I suspect have a huge dog in this fight on whether or not the memo is released, who started up with some ridiculous notion that the Kremlin, which apparently controls Wikileaks, is behind wanting the memo released. Two days ago, members of both the House Intelligence committee as well as CIA subcommittee members released a statement,
“Not surprisingly, the GOP campaign to attack the FBI now has been joined by the same forces that made common cause during the Trump campaign — Wikileaks, Julian Assange and a multitude of online Russian bots are not involved in promoting this effort. It should be seen for what it so plainly is: yet another desperate and failing attempt to undermine Special Counsel Mueller and the FBI, regardless of the profound damage it does to our democratic institutions and national security agencies.”
Let me repeat this: This statement was written by members of the CIA subcommittee. Here’s a tweet from one of those members,
These representatives, the people WE elected have consciously chosen to side with an Intelligence agency and blame #ReleaseTheMemo on Russia and Wikileaks rather than listen to the people who put them in office. The only reason for blatantly ignoring the transparency that their constituents so desire is because they have something awful to hide, it’s really that simple. Is it any wonder that Twitter sent out a distraction email to hundreds of thousands users yesterday? The Twitter email ended with,
“People come to Twitter to see what’s happening in the world. We are committed to making it the best place to do that and to being transparent with the people who use and trust our platform.”
…which sounds great and all except most of us come to Twitter to see what’s happening in the world, not what or how Twitter wants us to see what’s happening in the world. This letter, Twitter’s above the law attitude, and the suppression of the Intel memo should be completely unacceptable to the America public and as a final thought, one solution that would straighten out some of this mess is Wikileaks. They have offered to match any reward for the memo up to one million dollars so I say that someone should leak that puppy to Wikileaks because most of the time it’s the only way to get any truth and transparency about our own government.