From the "I SEE RUSSIANS - EVERYWHERE!!!! " Files:
Twitter, Media, And Democrats Are All Guilty In The Hamilton 68 Scandal
Besides Hamilton 68, three groups deserve condemnation for peddling the Russian-bots hoax: the media, corrupt politicians, and Twitter.
The latest chapter of “The Twitter Files” broke on Friday, with the release of internal communications that provided a takedown of Hamilton 68, which wrongly purported to expose Russian disinformation on social media. The details released, however, prove equally devasting to the corrupt media, dishonest Democrats, and Twitter itself.
Independent journalist Matt Taibbi’s most recent exposé provided more details of the internal angst at Twitter caused by Hamilton 68, which Taibbi described as “a computerized ‘dashboard’ designed to be used by reporters and academics to measure ‘Russian disinformation.’” As Taibbi explained, former FBI counterintelligence agent Clint Watts conceived of the dashboard, which the Alliance for Securing Democracy think-tank hosted. It then served as “the source of hundreds if not thousands of mainstream print and TV news stories in the Trump years.”
“Virtually every major news organization in America is implicated, including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post. Mother Jones alone did at least 14 stories pegged to the group’s ‘research,’” Taibbi stressed, adding, “Even fact-checking sites like Politifact and Snopes cited Hamilton 68 as a source.”
But there was a problem — a huge problem: “The Twitter Files expose Hamilton 68 as a sham.”
The internal communications revealed that Twitter had reverse-engineered how Hamilton 68 supposedly tracked online Russian influence and determined the methodology relied on a list of some 644 accounts. Twitter executives then ordered a forensic analysis of those accounts and determined that only 36 were registered in Russia, many of which were connected to Russia Today, the government “news” service.
According to Taibbi, “the accounts Hamilton 68 claimed were linked to ‘Russian influence activities online’ were not only overwhelmingly English-language (86%), but mostly ‘legitimate people,’ largely in the U.S., Canada, and Britain.”
Email exchanges captured the problem, with Twitter insiders saying, among other things: “No evidence to support the statement that the dashboard is a finger on the pulse of Russian information ops.” “Hardly evidence of a massive influence campaign.” “These accounts are neither strongly Russian nor strongly bots.”
As Twitter executive Yoel Roth synthesized: “I think we need to just call this out on the bullsh-t it is.” But while Twitter brushed reporters and politicians off Hamilton 68’s Russian-bots storyline, the tech giant’s concern about “playing the long game” kept it from calling BS on the project.
[READ: The Astounding Saga Of Hamilton 68 Illustrates Scope Of America’s Institutional Rot]
In a devastating Friday thread and subsequent article, however, Taibbi did. So devasting was his reporting, it prompted Hamilton 68 to post a response framed as a “FACT SHEET: Hamilton 68 Dashboard (2017-2018).”
Taibbi, who had basically begged Watts and those connected to the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD) to speak with him before his “Twitter Files” reporting went live, was neither amused nor persuaded. He countered with his own response, saying: “After refusing to answer questions pre-publication, Hamilton 68 and Clint Watts printed a response to the Twitter files that’s both laughable and damning.” And he went on to add an addendum highlighting the changes Hamilton 68 made to its webpage’s discussion of the project.
These revelations prove devasting to Hamilton 68 and scandalous to the Alliance for Securing Democracy. But three additional groups deserve equal focus and condemnation for peddling the Russian-bots hoax: the media, corrupt politicians, and Twitter.
Hunter is the smartest guy I know