The FBI's relationship with Twitter will be the focus of an investigation by House Republicans who say the government agency abused its power "to advance censorship of certain speech on Twitter's platform" following the release of internal documents by Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Friday said the documents, dubbed the "Twitter Files" and released to a handpicked group of journalists, raised concerns the FBI "maintained this relationship with Twitter apart from any particularized need for a specific investigation, but as a permanent and ongoing surveillance operation."
Musk in recent weeks released a set of internal Twitter documents, including screenshots, emails, and chat logs, capturing Twitter employees discussing company policies and fraught moderation calls. Republicans say the threads prove that Twitter intentionally silenced conservatives because of their political views.
At the heart of the controversy is Twitter's decision in October 2020 to block users from sharing a story containing material from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Musk has alleged the communications show government censorship.
The FBI on Wednesday said it didn't request "any action" on specific tweets and instead provided information to the tech giant so that Twitter employees can make a determination on whether to take action.
"We are providing it so that they can take whatever action they deem appropriate under their terms of service to protect their platform and protect their customers, but we never direct or ask them to take action," FBI officials told Fox News.
Jordan in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray requested records on the bureau's role in Twitter censoring content like the Hunter Biden laptop.
"Newly released information shows the FBI has coordinated extensively with Twitter to censor or otherwise affect content on Twitter's platform," said Jordan, the incoming House Judiciary Committee chairman.
"These documents show that the FBI maintained this relationship with Twitter apart from any particularized need for a specific investigation, but as a permanent and ongoing surveillance operation," Jordan wrote. "These revelations sadly reinforce our deep concerns about the FBI's misconduct and its hostility to the First Amendment."
The letter asks for "all documents and communications between or among employees or contractors of the FBI referring or relating to content moderation on Twitter's platform."
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