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Arizona governor-elect asked Twitter to censor content, leaked emails show

Emails include Homeland Security's CISA agency

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December 05, 2022

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01:32 AM

Arizona governor-elect asked Twitter to censor content, leaked emails show

Internal Twitter emails leaked Sunday show Arizona Secretary of State and declared Governor-Elect Katie Hobbs asking Twitter to censor content related to “election misinformation” last year. 

In an email dated January 7, 2021, and titled, “Election Related Misinformation,” the communications director for Katie Hobbs’ secretary of state office asked the Center for Internet Security (CIS), a non-profit cybersecurity organization, to “review” a certain Twitter profile which had been redacted. The email was sent to [email protected]

In less than 20 minutes, a CIS employee forwarded that email to an address at Twitter, saying “Please see this report below from the Arizona SOS office. Please let me know if you have any questions.” In a fact sheet on misinformation, CIS suggests sending suspected election-related misinformation on Twitter to [email protected] 

CIS’ one-pager on misinformation encourages people to report suspected misinformation to its misinformation department and provides email addresses for various social media platforms it can be reported to as well. The organization clarifies that “anything on social media that’s about your jurisdiction, pertains to the administration or security of the 2020 general election, and is false” should be reported.  

Among its reporting instructions, the organization tells the individual reporting the misinformation to include a screenshot of the offending post and the URL, if possible, and a description. The description “doesn’t have to be more than a couple sentences, but more detail is better. Citing a law is even better.” 

The email from Katie Hobbs does not show that any of those instructions were followed. 

Nine minutes later, Twitter wrote back: “Thank you . . . we will escalate.” 

By the end of the day, Twitter had removed two tweets from the account: “Thank you . . . both tweets have been removed from the service.” The email cc’d the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is under the Department of Homeland Security. 

As detailed in a report last month, CISA is the government body which coordinates censorship with social media companies, ensuring that platforms are de-platforming content and users who challenge the Biden administration’s agenda. Among CISA’s members were Twitter Head of Legal Policy, Trust, and Safety Vijaya Gadde, who made the call to ban Trump from the platform and was last month terminated by Elon Musk, and University of Washington Professor Kate Starbird. 

The emails between Hobbs and Twitter were leaked two days after Elon Musk released “The Twitter Files," a tranche of internal Twitter communications showing a censorship enterprise run by Twitter leadership and the Democratic Party. 

As Secretary of State, Hobbs oversaw the election which declared her the winner and will certify her own victory. Hobbs is also suing Cochise County, which is refusing to certify the results over serious allegations of election fraud, to force the county’s election officials to certify. 

 

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