He shared a 2017 email from an official at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), which included a list of 52 Arab language accounts the military used “to amplify certain messages.” In the email, the official asked for priority service from Twitter for six accounts, verification for one and “whitelist” abilities for the others.
1. TWITTER FILES PART 8*How Twitter Quietly Aided the Pentagon’s Covert Online PsyOp Campaign* Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the U.S. military’s influence operations. — Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 20, 2022
A “whitelist” flag on the accounts means they more or less have a blue check status, making them more visible and likely to trend, according to Fang. Among other topics, CENTCOM sites tweeted anti-Iranian messages and promotion of the Saudi Arabia-U.S.-backed war in Yemen.
4. In 2017, a U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) official sent Twitter a list of 52 Arab language accounts “we use to amplify certain messages.” The official asked for priority service for six accounts, verification for one & “whitelist” abilities for the others. pic.twitter.com/LuMbMZDv8i— Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 20, 2022
In an article for The Intercept, Fang elaborated on his “Twitter Files” post, noting that “@yemencurrent” was an example of one of the DOD’s 52 Arab-speaking accounts. Some of the other nations the Pentagon allegedly sought to influence were Syria, Iraq and Kuwait.
6. The CENTCOM accounts on the list tweeted frequently about U.S. military priorities in the Middle East, including promoting anti-Iran messages, promotion of the Saudi Arabia-U.S. backed war in Yemen, and “accurate” U.S. drone strikes that claimed to only hit terrorists. pic.twitter.com/IhqUDWJjQ9— Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 20, 2022
“The accounts in question started out openly affiliated with the U.S. government. But then the Pentagon appeared to shift tactics and began concealing its affiliation with some of these accounts — a move toward the type of intentional platform manipulation that Twitter has publicly opposed,” Fang explained. “Though Twitter executives maintained awareness of the accounts, they did not shut them down, but let them remain active for years. Some remain active.” This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
21. Here is my reported piece w/more detail. I was given access to Twitter for a few days. I signed/agreed to nothing, Twitter had no input into anything I did or wrote. The searches were carried out by a Twitter attorney, so what I saw could be limited. https://t.co/AgcFy71fE3— Lee Fang (@lhfang) December 20, 2022