‘Dangerous Incentive’: Journalist Reveals Truth About Impact Of FBI Payments On Twitter Policy

Author and journalist Michael Shellenberger recently spoke with Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro, stating that the FBI’s payment of millions of dollars to social media giant Twitter in exchange for silencing and censoring conservative tweets and accounts during the runup to the 2020 presidential election helped to create what he called a “dangerous incentive” for the company to essentially become a working arm for the bureau, doing its bidding whenever called upon.

A report from the Daily Wire said that Shellenberger explained that these payments from the federal law enforcement agency were just one way for the bureau to apply pressure to the social media platform in order to get them to help push Biden’s presidential campaign.

“An email Shellenberger revealed earlier this week showed that Twitter took $3.4 million from the FBI as compensation for its costs to “process” the FBI’s content moderation requests,” the report said.

“What was interesting about that is that they had decided they had not been taking that money before 2019,” Shellenberger said to Shapiro during a conversation the two had on Wednesday’s edition of his popular podcast. “They then decided to take it after 2019. So this is one sign among many that Twitter was basically finally succumbing to the pressure from the intelligence agencies.”

“Of course, it creates an incentive, particularly when you get to a business like Twitter that was losing money at the time … having the federal government give them millions of dollars while also asking for the censorship of accurate information. It’s really dangerous incentive,” the journalist continued.

Shapiro has referred to the latest release of files from Shellenberger to be the most damning batch yet. Other batches have been released on the platform, narrated largely by Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Lee Fang. The conservative podcast host then stated that Twitter’s suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story seems to have come about due to the pressure applied on the company by the FBI.

“Former top FBI attorney James Baker, who played a key role in launching the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, had by 2020 taken a key position at Twitter, where he pushed the platform to bury the laptop story after it was broken by the New York Post. The laptop revealed Hunter Biden to be a venal degenerate, but also contained credible evidence that the younger Biden sold his father’s influence to America’s enemies. Polls now show stifling the story likely cost Trump a second term,” the report stated.

With Baker pushing Twitter from the inside and his old colleagues at the FBI applying pressure from Washington, Twitter suspended the Post’s account and suppressed the story. Shapiro noted that we still don’t know the extent of the FBI’s influence on the effort,” it continued.

“There’s no kind of clear document in which the FBI just tells Twitter to take down the Hunter Biden laptop,” Shapiro said. “But there were files that were passed that apparently are still classified between the FBI and Twitter.”

Shellenberger agreed with the show host and stated that Baker was not the only former employee of the FBI that had been given a position at Twitter.

“It’s important to understand that there were many senior FBI officials here at Twitter, the former deputy chief of staff to James Comey, the director of FBI at the time that came to Twitter, also the general counsel (Baker), the chief counsel of FBI came to Twitter in the summer of 2020,” he remarked.

“When you look at the engagements between FBI staff and Twitter employees, and you look at the behaviors of previous FBI senior executives at Twitter, it looks like a pattern of a disinformation campaign aimed at Twitter and at news media companies, basically to prime them or to prepare them or condition them to perceive any information about under Biden as Russian disinformation,” Shellenberger said to Shapiro.

A variety of other communications that were released by Shellenberger revealed the FBI was putting some heat on the company’s Trust and Safety Chief Yoel Roth to find evidence of foreign interference in the election, which Roth said repeatedly was not evident.

“They would say, ‘Well, we found 50 accounts that may have been linked to Russian hackers in the past, but there’s very little activity on them, very little retweets or followers,’” Shellenberger explained. “So there just wasn’t anything there. It all seemed … pretextual, aimed at getting Twitter employees conditioned to thinking that there was a lot of foreign interference when there wasn’t.”

Shellenberger then stated that the latest batch of files show a kind of evolution in Roth’s behavior while he was in charge of Twitter’s content police.

“My views of Yoel Roth have actually changed a bit after I spent more time with the files,” Shellenberger commented. “My view is that he was definitely very progressive, very woke. We saw him being very censorious, calling the White House full of Nazis in 2017. But by 2020, he was a more moderate figure in the company. I would say. I would describe him as a company man, a kind of trustworthy executive.”

“But he was also being worked very hard by the deputy general counsel of Twitter, the former FBI counsel, Jim Baker,” Shellenberger noted. “I look back at Roth and I think he was basically a victim of a disinformation campaign aimed at manipulating him and was completely unaware that this was going on.”

“And I think that now we can see has the fingerprints of the FBI all over it,” he concluded.

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.

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