Substack journalist Matt Taibbi fired back at comments made by Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, who was swept up in the latest Twitter Files.
On Saturday, Taibbi revealed an October 2018 email from then-Twitter's public policy manager saying that he "spoke" with King's campaign manager as the senator was seeking reelection regarding a lengthy list of what were dubbed "suspicious Twitter accounts" that the campaign flagged.
The list, posted in a Google doc that also included flagged Facebook users and groups, labeled hundreds of Twitter accounts as either "bots" or "trolls." Reasons why the tweets were flagged varied from "Rand Paul visit excitement" and "Mentions immigration," to being followed by his Republican opponent.
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King, an independent who caucuses with Senate Democrats, claims his campaign was merely trying to combat "misinformation."
"Listen, I don't mind a vigorous campaign," King told News Center Maine on Tuesday. "Let's argue about the issues and debate, but let's be honest about what the facts are, what I say, what my opponents say."
"And the voters have to be wary that people are actively trying to mislead them. So, you know, if somebody's gonna come after me with a misleading – misinformation, I'm gonna respond," the lawmaker continued.
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Taibbi slammed King's claim that he embraces a "vigorous" campaign.
"Dear @SenAngusKing: sending a list of ‘suspicious accounts’ to Twitter and Facebook is the opposite of having a vigorous debate," Taibbi tweeted. "If you think what people tweet or post is misleading, argue that publicly."
"Attempting to deplatform critics isn't debate, it's an abuse of influence," Taibbi added.
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Matthew Felling, King's communications director, told Fox News Digital the senator's campaign at the time "identified a doctored and misleading video that had been posted to Twitter" and flagged it to the tech giant "in much the same way that false campaign ads are flagged for scrutiny when aired on TV."
"The Twitter content moderation staff responded and invited the social media team to share any additional activity moving forward that had raised alarms. At Twitter’s request, the campaign later shared two internal lists flagging misleading information coming from both sides of the political spectrum, not just from conservative sources as has been previously reported. At no point did the campaign digital team ask for any action to be taken; they shared content of concern at the request of Twitter’s moderation team and deferred to their professional judgment," Felling said.
In the 17th installment of the Twitter Files, Taibbi also called out Mark Lenzi, a former State Department security engineer from the Trump administration who emailed Twitter a list users he said were "Russian controlled accounts that I think you will want to look into and delete."
"A government official, writing from a State department email, asks to ‘delete’ 14 accounts that are engaged in legit speech and for which no evidence is shown they're Russian controlled or bots (in fact, we at Racket know some of these people). A clear First Amendment issue," Taibbi wrote.
Previous installments of the Twitter Files revealed censorship efforts by both Trump and Biden White Houses as well as the office of Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif.