Federal pressure on Twitter over Russia stemmed from Clinton excuses for 2016 loss

Previous installments of the “Twitter Files” had already shown how multiple federal agencies pressured and coerced the social media platform into cooperative behavior, and the latest installment shows that it can all be tracked back to failed 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, the Daily Mail reported.

It was Clinton’s incessant and unproven howling about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election as an excuse for her loss to former President Donald Trump that led to a pressure campaign from the media and threats from congressional Democrats against Twitter that ultimately resulted in the platform agreeing to cooperate with the FBI and other agencies.

Suspicions of Russian n interference

On Tuesday, independent journalist Matt Taibbi posted his most recent “Twitter Files” thread that was titled, “How Twitter Let the Intelligence Community In.”

It all began in August 2017 after Facebook announced that it had suspended around 300 accounts with “suspected” links to Russia that was largely brushed aside by Twitter due to the fact that it had no evidence of any similar issue with large numbers of influential Russia-linked accounts, and executives decided to remain quiet and allow the “Russian interference” focus to remain on Facebook.

That didn’t last for long, though, as congressional Democrats, particularly Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) of the Senate Intelligence Community, publicly called out Twitter for its “frankly inadequate” efforts to investigate and expose alleged Russia-linked accounts spreading Russian propaganda.

Pressure mounts

By September 2017, top Twitter executives, such as Public Policy VP Colin Crowell, were being called in for closed door meetings with members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees with demands for answers about the level of Russian election meddling and propaganda on social media as well as what was being done to address those issues.

In a late-September email to then-CEO Jack Dorsey, Crowell shared some of the details of his meetings with Congress, including that Warner and others were “singularly focused on what transpired in 2016” more than anything else — even as the platform had little data or evidence of anything substantial in that regard.

Crowell further noted that Sen. “Warner has political incentive to keep this issue at top of the news, maintain pressure on us and rest of industry to keep producing material for them.”

Then came the big bombshell in that email, as Crowell wrote to Dorsey, “Democrats also taking cues from Hillary Clinton, who in her ‘What Happened’ book tour is pointedly talking about role of Russian propaganda and dirty tricks that were pushed through social media had on her demise.”

Taibbi noted that Clinton that very same week had stated publicly, “It’s time for Twitter to stop dragging its heels and live up to the fact that its platform is being used as a tool for cyber-warfare.”

Clinton’s excuses led to media pressure

The rest of Taibbi’s thread revealed how Twitter had increased its efforts in October 2017 to discover and take action against suspicious Russia-linked accounts but found astonishingly few that fit the bill, even after reducing the precision of a broadened search that still came up relatively empty.

However, then came a torrent of misleading news articles about that issue fueled by Intel Committee leaks, as well as increased threats of legislation and regulations detrimental to Twitter’s bottom line and public relations.

In the end, and as has been shown in more detail in prior “Twitter Files” installments by Taibbi and others, the platform eventually reluctantly agreed to cooperate with — and eventually, do the bidding of, in terms of censorship — various federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies … all because Hillary Clinton refused to accept her loss to Trump and instead made up 100+ different excuses, including blaming Russia.