Former Twitter Head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth “debunked” media reports flagged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about “foreign influence” ahead of the 2020 election, according to the latest “Twitter Files” release.
Independent journalist Michael Shellenberger tweeted out a thread about the FBI and the Hunter Biden laptop, including correspondence between Twitter and the FBI about foreign election influence.
“In fact, Twitter debunked false claims by journalists of foreign influence on its platform,” Shellenberger wrote.
17. After FBI asks about a WaPo story on alleged foreign influence in a pro-Trump tweet, Twitter’s Roth says, “The article makes a lot of insinuations… but we saw no evidence that that was the case here (and in fact, a lot of strong evidence pointing in the other direction).” pic.twitter.com/jJjnczZnA5
— Michael Shellenberger (@ShellenbergerMD) December 19, 2022
FBI Agent Elvis Chan flagged reports by NBC News and the Washington Post in emails sent to Roth, Shellenberger reported. Chan asked Roth if there was “anything we should be aware of concerning this topic” and linked to an NBC article alleging foreign controlled bots were on the platform.
“We haven’t seen any evidence to support that claim. Our review thus far shows a small-scale domestic troll effort,” Roth said to Chan on June 2, 2020. Roth specified there was “not a significant bot or foreign angle” to the NBC story, an email exchange posted by Shellenberger shows.
Chan later sent Roth a report from the Washington Post alleging foreign influence in amplifying a pro-Trump tweet, Shellenberger reported. Chan pointed to Twitter’s decision to suspend a conservative account for policy violations in his email to Roth, the report shows. (RELATED: Even Twitter’s Censorship Chief Was ‘Perplexed’ By FBI Demands)
Roth told Chan that “the article makes a lot of insinuations about foreign interference – but we saw no evidence that that was the case here (and in fact, a lot of strong evidence pointing in the other direction),” in response to his questions about the WaPo report.
Chan was part of the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF) tasked with identifying alleged foreign influence following the 2016 election, journalist Matt Taibbi previously reported.