Feds Worked With Ukraine To Censor Journalists

Feds Worked With Ukraine To Censor Journalists

(RightWing.org) – Billionaire and free speech advocate Elon Musk started releasing select internal Twitter documents through third-party individuals a couple of months after he acquired the Big Tech platform in October 2022. Known as The Twitter Files, their release raised several concerns involving government tampering with free speech on social media platforms, online censorship, and the blacklisting of conservative voices. His latest document dump indicated that the feds worked with Ukrainian officials to censor journalists.

On June 7, noted journalist and writer Aaron Maté posted the latest release of the Twitter files in an eight-part thread. He explained that the FBI coordinated efforts to “ban Twitter users and collect their data” with officials from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the country’s lead intelligence agency. Maté also linked to an article he posted on Substack.

The article and thread included a screenshot of an email sent to two Twitter employees by FBI Special Agent Aleksandr Kobzanets, a legal attaché in Kyiv. The message thanked the workers, Marlena and Yoel [Roth], for discussing assistance to Ukraine. He also attached a document drafted by the SBU, containing a list of 163 accounts for their “review and consideration.” Kobzanets explained that the SBU suspected the users of “spreading fear and disinformation.”

The SBU elaborated on that claim in its document. It said the Twitter accounts were disseminating “fake news” as part of an effort to “inaccurately [depict] events in Ukraine” to “justify war crimes” perpetrated by Russian authorities. The SBU asked the platform to provide it with “user data [provided] during registration” and to “take urgent measures” to suspend their accounts.

Roth sent an email back to Kobzanets and several FBI agents copied on the original message. He explained that a cursory look showed the users appeared to be a mix of individuals, official Russian accounts, and a sprinkling of American and Canadian journalists — including Maté.

Roth said Twitter would focus “first and foremost” on identifying fake accounts. However, he warned the platform was unlikely to determine that any “authentic” accounts associated with media outlets and journalists violated Twitter’s rule for covering the Russia/Ukraine war from a pro-Russia perspective. He concluded by telling Kobzanets to provide any additional information regarding their “covert/deceptive association” with a government entity.

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