Journalist and author Matt Taibbi noted the U.S. government’s role in creating a “new cottage industry” of “disinformation labs” ostensibly combatting fraudulent online propaganda in the interest of national security in his latest Twitter Files report published Thursday.
The “Twitter Files #17” thread focuses on the Global Engagement Center (GEC), a subsidiary of the State Department, and its claimed objective to “recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining or influencing the policies, security, or stability of the United States, its allies, and partner nations.”
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The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRL), which is funded by the federal government via the GEC, regularly sent blacklists of online profiles to Twitter executives and staffers requesting censorship, according to the Twitter Files.
Taibbi emphasized how news media were more compliant than Twitter in accepting the government’s “disinformation” claims at face value.
He described news media personalities as “an easier mark” than Twitter staffers for false and unsubstantiated claims made by the GEC and DFRL regarding online “disinformation.”
Taibbi highlighted the vapidity of the newly-manufactured “anti-disinformation” organizations and the subservient compliance of news media to such organizations’ claims.
“Most of these ‘experts’ know nothing,” he wrote. “Many have skill, if you can call mesmerizing dumb reporters a skill, but in the area of identifying true bad actors, few know more than the average person on the street.”
He added, “The scary angle on GEC is not so much the agency as the sprawling infrastructure of ‘disinformation labs’ that have grown around it.”
American taxpayers are funding digital blacklists used to manipulate them, Taibbi concluded. The government-funded GEC “littered the media landscape with flawed or flat-out wrong news stories. Exacerbating matters, Americans in both cases paid taxes to become the subject of these manipulative operations,” he wrote.