A journalist from a far-left news organization published the latest installment of “The Twitter Files” Tuesday afternoon and sought to portray the U.S. Military in a negative light with the information that was released.
The Intercept’s Lee Fang called his release of “The Twitter Files,” the eighth release in the series, “How Twitter Quietly Aided the Pentagon’s Covert Online PsyOp Campaign.”
The files showed that the U.S. Department of Defense created fake non-English-speaking accounts that it used to promote information in only foreign countries, mostly in the Middle East, to counter America’s enemies in the region, like Iran.
Twitter assisted the Pentagon’s efforts by giving the network of accounts special protections so they would not get flagged as spam accounts and removed from the platform.
“The Pentagon has used this network, which includes U.S. government-generated news portals and memes, in an effort to shape opinion in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, [and] Kuwait,” Fang noted, adding that the network “relentlessly pushed narratives against Russia, China, and other foreign countries.”
Nothing in the report gave even the slightest indication that the Pentagon’s efforts ever targeted Americans or anyone in the U.S. as all the evidence that was presented said that only foreign adversaries overseas were targeted.
Perhaps the one concern that the report found was that the U.S. did not do a good job of making the accounts appear authentic, as officials from social media companies apparently warned the Pentagon that if they could detect inauthentic accounts then foreign adversaries likely could as well.
Research from social media companies has found that the U.S. is by far the #1 target of foreign disinformation campaigns online, with Russia and Iran being the biggest culprits on Facebook.
Journalist Yashar Ali responded to one of Fang’s tweets that claimed that the U.S. Military’s accounts “tweeted frequently about U.S. military priorities in the Middle East, including promoting anti-Iran messages,” by noting that is not what the messages said.
“To be clear they’re not anti-Iran messages,” said Ali, whose family is from Iran. “They’re anti-Islamic Republic messages.”
To be clear they’re not anti-Iran messages.
They’re anti-Islamic Republic messages. https://t.co/Z8mBHGvYHi
— Yashar Ali 🐘 یاشار (@yashar) December 20, 2022
Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Rebeccah Heinrichs, a foreign policy expert who was a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump’s foreign policy agenda, responded to the thread by noting: “This isn’t obviously bad and might be very good.”
“One advantage the CCP has over the US is that the entire nation, from its ‘influencers’ to its businesses, to its academics, all serve the CCP in international relations. US media and influencers, in contrast, tend to aid narratives that undermine US interests,” Heinrichs tweeted. “The U.S. is in a vicious info war with adversaries ranging from the CCP to Russia to Iran, etc. So if a major news platform like twitter is willing to cooperate w/ the Pentagon trying to shape and bend info to serve US interests? I certainly hope they are.”
The U.S. is in a vicious info war with adversaries ranging from the CCP to Russia to Iran, etc. So if a major news platform like twitter is willing to cooperate w/ the Pentagon trying to shape and bend info to serve US interests? I certainly hope they are.
— Rebeccah Heinrichs (@RLHeinrichs) December 20, 2022
Foreign policy columnist Jason Willick responded, “This seems to be the one Twitter file that shows Twitter *supporting* the U.S., rather than subverting its constitutional principles. What’s the problem?”
“Put differently, it shows Twitter acting like an *American* company, for once,” he added. “Good.”
Put differently, it shows Twitter acting like an *American* company, for once. Good.
— Jason Willick (@jawillick) December 20, 2022