Government Had Access To Private Twitter DMs – OpEd


Back in 2018, in his first testimony to Congress, Mark Zuckerberg was asked if Facebook had ever taken down a page at the government’s request. “Yes, I believe so,” said the Facebook CEO, without revealing what the page contained, which government officials had demanded its removal, and when it occurred. Zuckerberg also said, “I want to be careful here because our work with the special counsel is confidential.” Something similar was going on over at Twitter.

Current CEO Elon Musk told Tucker Carlson that the United States and foreign government agencies were granted “full access” to direct messages of private citizens. As Musk told Carlson, “The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind. I was not aware of that.”

To limit such government meddling, Musk plans a feature for encrypted messages. His efforts have already drawn complaints from “various agencies,” and Musk already has a plan moving forward. “If I got something that was unconstitutional from the U.S. government, my reply would be to send them a copy of the First Amendment and just say, ‘What part of this are we getting wrong?’”

Musk did not identify the U.S. or foreign agencies that enjoyed such complete access to Twitter, but it is possible to guess. Perhaps one of them was the Biden administration’s upstart Disinformation Governance Board. Still, the FBI, CIA, and NSA are also known for snooping. On the foreign front, it’s hard to think of a nation with more access to America than the People’s Republic of China, whose leaders Joe Biden regards as “not bad folks.” 

The U.S. Department of Justice is “charging two defendants in connection with opening and operating an illegal overseas police station, located in lower Manhattan, New York, for a provincial branch of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).” Embattled Americans have a right to wonder what all those intrusive U.S. government agencies knew about it. 

In February, China directed a surveillance balloon over most of the continental United States, including military bases, before the Biden administration took it down. With that kind of access to American air space, it’s not out of the question that China’s spy agencies could have enjoyed full access to direct messages on Twitter. Those who use Twitter, and those who don’t, deserve a full revelation from Elon Musk. 

Over at Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg regrets banning the sharing of the New York Post story on Hunter Biden’s laptop. Zuckerberg should now reveal which page Facebook took down at the government’s request, what the page contained, and which government official ordered the takedown. 

This article was also published at The Beacon

K. Lloyd Billingsley

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.

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