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The 'Twitter Files' Part 7: FBI Paid Platform $3M to Censor Information, Influence the 2020 Election


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The latest installment from Elon Musk's "Twitter Files" reveals new information confirming that the FBI not only pressured the social media site to suppress reports about Hunter Biden's laptop, but that it also paid Twitter employees millions of dollars to do so.

Twitter's new CEO confirmed a 2021 document that shows Twitter staffers were compensated by the FBI with more than $3 million to help with so-called "law-enforcement related projects".

The most high profile of these projects included suppressing reports about Hunter Biden's laptop and influencing the platform right before the 2020 elections.

In a thread titled, "TWITTER FILES: PART 7", independent journalist Michael Shellenberger lays out new evidence that the FBI & intelligence community tried to discredit "factual information" about Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings before and after The New York Post revealed the contents of his laptop. 

On October 14, 2020, The New York Post reported that Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.

The Post's story was based on emails from a Delaware repair shop owner, who had possession of Hunter's laptop. Hunter had reportedly left his computer at the shop for repairs but never came back to pick it up.

Members of the intelligence community, major TV networks, and executives at Twitter worked overtime denying that the Hunter Biden laptop was real. 

They called it "the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation."

But Shellenberger shares that the FBI was in possession of the laptop way back in 2019 and knew its contents. The organization then reached out to Twitter's former trust and safety head, Yoel Roth, ahead of the New York Post's publication to suppress the story. 

"Within hours, Twitter and other social media companies censor the NY Post article, preventing it from spreading and, more importantly, undermining its credibility in the minds of many Americans," Shellenberger explained.

Shellenberger adds that Roth was coerced to dismiss any reports about the story. 

He notes that in September 2020, Roth "participated in an Aspen Institute 'tabletop exercise' on a potential 'Hack-and-Dump' operation." 

The exercise included a supposedly "fake" scenario where Burisma documents were leaked online outlining payments to Hunter Biden. 

So a month later, when the news broke Roth was already "trained" on how to deal with it.

"This feels a lot like a somewhat subtle leak operation," Roth wrote to his colleagues when flagging the NY Post's story for censorship.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg also confirms the FBI did the same on that platform. 

"The FBI basically came to us [and] was like, 'Hey... you should be on high alert. We thought that there was a lot of Russian propaganda in the 2016 election. There's about to be some kind of dump similar to that,'" he shared.

Shellenberger goes on to explain that a large number of former FBI employees were also hired at Twitter around the same time.

The goal was to shape how the media covered it — and how social media carried it," Shellenberger explained.

A goal the FBI felt they were successful with.

"In the end, the FBI's influence campaign aimed at executives at news media, Twitter, & other social media companies worked: they censored & discredited the Hunter Biden laptop story," Shellenberger added. "By Dec. 2020, [FBI lawyer Jim] Baker and his colleagues even sent a note of thanks to the FBI for its work."



As CBN News has reported, The "Twitter Files" have rekindled charges that political censorship by Big Tech helped President Biden win the 2020 election, and led to the suppression of numerous conservative voices.

"Twitter's contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary," wrote journalist Matt Taibbi in a previous "Twitter Files" report. 

And Shellenberger points out evidence that suggests the intelligence agency is prepping for the 2024 presidential election. 

"And the pressure from the FBI on social media platforms continues," he wrote. "In Aug 2022, Twitter execs prepared for a meeting with the FBI, whose goal was 'to convince us to produce on more FBI [emergency disclosure request]...a warrantless search."

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About The Author


Talia Wise has served as a multi-media producer for, CBN Newswatch, The Prayer Link, and CBN News social media outlets. Prior to joining CBN News she worked for Fox Sports Florida producing and reporting. Talia earned a master’s degree in journalism from Regent University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.