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Twitter secretly ramps up US military propaganda: Investigate | Social media news


Twitter has helped promote US military operations in the Middle East, according to an investigation based on company records.

Twitter worked with the Pentagon to amplify propaganda about US military activities in the Middle East, allowing fake accounts to spread pro-American stories despite pledges to shut down the campaigns. secret state-run influencers, according to an investigation based on internal Twitter files.

According to an investigation by Lee Fang, a reporter for The Intercept, Twitter has secretly created a special “whitelist” that exempts accounts operated by US Central Command (CENTCOM) from spam flags and abuse, making them more visible on the platform.

Twitter quietly introduced the feature in 2017 after US military officials asked the company to improve the visibility of 52 accounts in Arabic that were used to “amplify certain messages.” , according to the investigation.

According to Fang, CENTCOM’s “preferred accounts” promoted information that supported US military narratives, including criticizing Iran, supporting the US-backed war and Saudi Arabia. in Yemen, while also claiming the unsurpassed accuracy of US drone strikes.

Fang said CENTCOM then concealed ownership of its accounts, in some cases using fake profile pictures and biographies to give the impression that they were run by civilians in the Middle East.

Although Twitter says it does not allow state-backed fraudulent influence operations, the social media company was aware of CENTCOM’s covert operations and accepted the presence of accounts. on the platform until at least May 2022, Fang said.

“A Twitter official spoke to me that he felt cheated by the covert altercation. However, numerous emails throughout 2020 show that senior Twitter executives were well aware of the DoD. [Department of Defence] extensive network of fake accounts and covert propaganda and has not suspended the accounts,” Fang said on Twitter on Tuesday.

“For example, Twitter attorney Jim Baker mused in a July 2020 email, about the upcoming DoD meeting, that the Pentagon used ‘poor engineering’ in setting up its network and is look for strategies to undisclose the accounts ‘associated with each account’. other or for the DoD or USG’.”

Baker, Twitter’s former deputy general counsel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Twitter.

The revelation is the latest in a series of stories based on so-called “Twitter files” – internal company documents that Elon Musk, who bought Twitter in October, shared with a number of journalists in unofficial publications.

Musk, one of the richest men in the world, has seen the release of the documents as an attempt to increase transparency about the operation of the social media platform under previous management, who he accused censorship and advocated liberal views and personalities.

Previous iterations of Twitter files have been recorded “blacklisting” restricting the reach of conservative figures, as well as internal discussions that led to the suspension of former US President Donald Trump from the platform and blocking the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop email.

Twitter’s release of internal files generated a mixed, often polarizing reaction.

While conservatives have seized records as evidence of Twitter’s liberal bias and hostility to free speech, many liberals have issued releases such as representations of the good faith efforts by employees to grapple with difficult moderation decisions.

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