Why didn't the FBI want this banned? Twitter kicks Antifa off site
The account for a Colorado-based Antifa group has been suspended – less than a month after the platform’s new owner promised to purge all accounts that incite violence.
Screenshots taken Saturday evening show that @COSAntiFascists, the Springs cell of the domestic terror group, has, in fact, been nixed – with reporter Andy Ngo the first to break the news.
Ngo, an editor for The Post Millennial, had been one of many onlookers to express anger last month over the terror group’s continued presence on the social media platform, even after Musk took control of the company in late October.
The Colorado group – which had 15,000 followers- is one of several far-left profiles scrubbed in the past week, with many seemingly linked to Antifa, which has thousands of cells across the country.
It comes as Musk last month announced he would permanently suspend accounts without warning, if they promote violence and are not labeled as parody.
Less than amonth after new owner Elon Musk promised to purge all accounts that incite violence, aTwitter account for a Colorado Springs Antifa cell has been suspended
Screenshots taken Saturday evening show that @COSAntiFascists, the Colorado Springs cell of the domestic terror group, has, in fact, been nixed
Musk had one point argued against lifetime bans, but after several celebrity and blue-check verified users changed their accounts to mimic his own, he ordered the policy be revamped.
It also comes amid increased suspicion of cooperation between Twitter and the FBI in scrubbing and ignoring certain accounts – with Files journalist Matt Taibbi Saturday sharing documents that exposed the extent of the alleged censorship.
Ngo on Saturday tweeted: ‘Breaking: @COSAntiFascists, the Colorado Springs cell of #Antifa, has been suspended on Twitter,’ sharing screenshots of an alert noting the account had been suspended and some of the group’s more problematic posts.
Posts shared by the journalist included calls from organizers for their supporters to vandalize local pro-life pregnancy meu centers following the recent Roe v.Wade Supreme Court reversal, and orders instructing followers to assault prominent right-wingers.
‘The account has operated for years instructing comrades to assault people & directing members to get the home addresses, phone numbers of targets,’ Ngo wrote, adding, ‘It had 15k followers.’
A month earlier, Ngo shared his concern about the group’s presence on Twitter in a reply to a post from Musk, where he called on users on to air any issues with the site that he should address following his highly publicized takeover.
‘Removing child exploitation is priority #1,’ Musk, 51, wrote at the time.’Please reply in comments if you see anything that Twitter needs to address.’
Ngo – an outspoken critic of the terror group – replied and noted that a large number accounts used by its members and hundreds of cells across the country are used to incite violence.
Ngo noted that Despite this, hundreds of Antifa accounts remain unbanned, with a list of more than 5000 Antifa and Antifa follower accounts currently being circulated
Ngo, an editor for The Post Millennial, had been one of many onlookers to express anger last month over the terror group’s continued presence on the social media platform, even after Musk took control of the company in late October
The journalist at the time noted how those groups brazenly ‘promote riots, give tips on how to commit violent crimes and post names, photos and addresses of targets plus their family members,’ sharing screenshots to support his claims.
Musk – who at one point argued against bans and said he would reverse one on Donald Trump – responded by stating that ‘Incitement to violence’ to any extent, ‘will result in account suspension.’
As several accounts linked to the terror group were stripped this week, members of a cell in Portland threatened arson and attacks on Musk-owned Tesla dealerships as a method of retaliation.
Aside from several Antifa branches, those suspended included an antifascist group that provides armed security for LGBTQ+ events in North Texas, and CrimethInc, an conservative collective that has been critical of leftist movements since the mid-90s.
Antifa has come under fire in recent years for purported attacks on Ngo, after he published a book chiding the organization – who often appear at right-wing processions donning riot gear and masks – titled Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy.
The book described the alleged illegality of the group’s continued activities, stating that the group’s mission statement is to undermine the American government, while also describing how he was attacked by members in Portland while going undercover as one of their own during a protest outside a police precinct in 2021.
The site of the center is near a planned $90 million police training center, which has been the focal point of protests for months by Antifa who have referred to the site as Cop City.
On Friday, five members of the group’s Portland branch – which made headlines in 2020 when members were filmed clashing with the a Portland Proud Boys chapter on the city’s streets – were arrested on Friday for domestic terrorism charges after they were protesting outside the planned center, due to the group’s stance on ‘defunding’ America’s police forces.
A contraction of the phrase ‘anti-fascist,’ Antifa refers to the group’s sprawling network of far-left militants in America’s fifty states and other countries as well, that oppose beliefs members deems fascist, racist, or the views of right-wing extremists.
The group surfaced in 2016, after the election of Donald Trump, who in 2020 – as the group continued to appear at high-profile clashes across the country – sought to classify the group as a terrorist organization.
However, citing the group’s lack of a central infrastructure, the FBI has not shared that stance, electing to not engage in a mass purge prior to Musk’s based on arguments that cells could just liberal-leaning individuals and websites that aren’t necessarily affiliated with the extremist group.
The group surfaced in 2016, after the election of Donald Trump, who in 2020 – as the group continued to appear at high-profile clashes across the country – called the group a ‘terrorist organization’
Following Trump’s falling out of office, the bureau’s hesitance to stymy the various groups’ continued presence on social media lead many to theorize the agency is acting as a vehicle of the Democrat party.
Those sentiments were seemingly confirmed Saturday, after Taibbi leaked further documents revealing that an FBI agent last slammed Twitter ‘s ‘gross subservience’ to the bureau, while revealing other firms were ‘totally adversarial’ when asked to hand over customers’ details.
The files were the latest in a series of documents to be released in a massive evidence dump dubbed by Musk as the Twitter Files, after Twitter’s new owner gave a group of hand-picked journalists access to the company’s internal records.
‘Between January 2020 and November 2022, there were over 150 emails between the FBI and former Twitter Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth,’ claimed Taibbi.
‘But a surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low-follower accounts,’ he added.
Those singled out were shocked, with one asking how ‘an amoeba’ like himself had come onto the FBI’s radar, while another said it was ‘crazy’ that the FBI was ‘policing jokes’.
Antifa has come under fire in recent years for purported attacks on Ngo, after he published a book chiding the organization – who often appear at right-wing processions donning riot gear and masks – titled Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy
A third added: ‘Anyone who cannot discern obvious satire from reality has no place making decisions for others or working for the feds.’
In one email from November 6, 2022, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Elvis Chan forwarded Twitter staff a lengthy list of accounts for review.
Chan wrote that the FBI believed the accounts were ‘violating [Twitter’s] terms of service by disseminating false information about the time, place or manner of the upcoming elections.’
The list of accounts had been sent to Chan by the FBI’s National Election Command Post, which compiles and forwards complaints, indicating that the list may have been based on community tips submitted to the FBI.
The list included Billy Baldwin, the brother of actors Alec and Stephen Baldwin, as well as what appear to be several satire accounts and the right-wing news and commentary outlet Right Side Broadcasting Network.
One of the accounts had as few as seven followers; almost all of the 29 flagged by the FBI had under 10,000 followers.
Following Trump’s falling out of office, the bureau’s hesitance to stymy the various groups’ continued presence on social media lead many to theorize the agency is acting as a vehicle of the Democratic party
The most high-profile were Baldwin’s, with 204,900 followers, and Right Side Broadcasting Network, with almost 875,000.
Only two of the rest had more than 10,000 followers.
‘It’s no secret the government analyzes bulk data for all sorts of purposes, everything from tracking terror suspects to making economic forecasts,’ said Taibbi.
‘The #TwitterFiles show something new: agencies like the FBI and DHS regularly sending social media content to Twitter through multiple entry points, pre-flagged for moderation.’
A Twitter employee responded to Chan on the morning of November 8, indicating which accounts had been suspended.
Baldwin’s account was not suspended in the action, and Twitter also spared several other accounts that the FBI had named, including RSB Network.