The eighth edition of Lee Fang’s investigative reporting series, “The Twitter Files,” revealed how the social media platform quietly aided the Pentagon’s covert online propaganda operation.
Fang uncovered how Twitter helped the US military carry out its covert propaganda operations. Despite its efforts to shut down state-run networks, the social media giant still allowed the Pentagon to influence the public through its platform.
Since he became the company’s owner, Elon Musk has been very transparent about Twitter’s past and current actions when it comes to censoring content. Through a series of investigative reports known as the Twitter Files, journalists have been able to slowly reveal the details of these activities.
According to Fang, he was able to access Twitter for a couple of days, though he did not sign any documents. He also noted that he did not receive any input from the company regarding his reports.
In a viral thread, the journalist noted that Twitter has claimed to have made significant efforts to detect and prevent government-backed platforms from manipulating its content. However, findings have shown that this is not the case.
Twitter allowed the US military to carry out its covert propaganda operations through a variety of methods, such as using fake identities. Despite knowing that these accounts were being used for years, the company still allowed them to remain active on its platform.
In one of his reports, Fang noted that the US Central Command sent an email to the media in 2017 about 52 Arab-language accounts that it had used to amplify certain messages. Twitter reportedly helped these accounts get additional visibility and avoided abuse and spam flags.
These accounts, which were initially associated with the government, started to post about the US’ military priorities in the region. However, their relationship with the government eventually became hidden.