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State-Funded ‘Anti-Disinformation’ Campaign Flagged Americans as Foreign Shills: Twitter Files

An anonymous state-funded group had thousands of American Twitter users flagged and banned for spreading hate speech. “foreign” According to the, disinformation latest installment Of “Twitter Files” Matt Taibbi (independent journalist) released this information on Thursday.

The flawed “anti-disinformation” The blacklist campaign was spearheaded by Global Engagement Center (GEC), a less-known unit of the State Department. Established in 2017 GEC has been given the task of working with government agencies such as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security to implement the Obama administration’s shift towards national security strategy. “counter the messaging and diminish the influence of international terrorist organizations.”

Over the past few years, the GEC bred a number of different species. “sprawling complex” Of “disinformation studies labs” Taibbi said that these entities include prominent colleges and think-tanks. According to Taibbi, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Labs (DFRLab) is one of those GEC-funded entities. It said in 2021 that it suspected 40,000 Twitter accounts being fraudulent. “paid employees or possibly volunteers” The Bharatiya Janata Party, the current ruling party in India, is represented.

“Attached you will find a spreadsheet of around 40k twitter [sic] accounts that our researchers suspect are engaging in inauthentic behaviour in support of BJP and Hindu nationalism more broadly,” Andy Garvin is an analyst and senior fellow from DFRLab. He sent a June 2021 tweet to Twitter.

However, the list was filled with everyday conservative Americans. Many of them apparently have no connection whatsoever to India or BJP or the religious-nationalist agenda it promotes.

“I have no connection to any Hindu folks … Just a Reagan Republican here in CT,” User “Bobby Hailstone” Told Taibbi.

“A Hindu nationalist? I’ve never even been out of this country. Let alone the state of NJ,” Another user wrote “Lady_DI816.”

Twitter’s former Integrity Chief Yoel Roth replied to Garvin’s email. He wrote that he “spot-checked a number of these accounts” Almost all of them looked like real people, which was surprising. Taibbi suggested that this could explain why so many accounts are on the “India list” They still live to this day.

Twitter also received a spreadsheet containing 5,500 users that the GEC believed to be on it. “Chinese accounts” Engaged in “state-backed coordinated manipulation.” The list also included accounts that were not apparently associated with China or the Chinese communist system.

According to screenshots Taibbi shared of chats, Twitter executives were frustrated to locate on the “Chinese list” CNN employees work abroad.

“Not exactly Anderson’s besties, but CNN assets if you will,” Twitter’s Patrick Conlon joked about Anderson Cooper, CNN anchor.

“Really really important to highlight this—what a total crock,” Roth commented.

In another email screenshot, the GEC asked Twitter to review 499 accounts suspected of spreading foreign disinformation, for reasons that include using the hashtag #IraniansDebateWithBiden and communicating on Signal, an encrypted messaging mobile application.

According to the most recent publicly accessible budget audit report According to the State Department, GEC received $98.7 Million in 2018. This includes $78.7 Million in funds that Congress had set aside and $20 million from the Pentagon. According to the report, the GEC used the money for at least 39 different organizations. However, only three were left unredacted.

The Atlantic Council declined to comment on our request. In the meantime, a spokesperson for State Department said that the GEC had been approved. “does not and has never attempted to moderate content on social media platforms.”

“The GEC’s mandate is to coordinate with other federal agencies to direct, lead, synchronize and coordinate the efforts of the U.S. government to understand the sources and trends in foreign attempts to spread disinformation and propaganda globally.”

Taibbi and independent journalist Michael Shellenberger have been in the news for publishing internal conversations among Twitter’s previous leadership. Many of these included decisions to censor certain information at government agencies’ request. On March 9, the House Judiciary Committee will hear their findings.

From State-Funded ‘Anti-Disinformation’ Campaign Flagged Americans as Foreign Shills: Twitter Files

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