Musk, who bought Twitter last year for $44 billion, said that the federal government had complete and "full access" to all Twitter users' accounts.
During an extensive interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, scheduled to air on Monday and Tuesday evenings, Musk revealed some astonishing allegations. He expressed shock at discovering that the government had complete access to private communications on his platform.
Musk, a billionaire entrepreneur, stated that he was not previously aware of this fact until he joined the company, and he was surprised by the level of monitoring of social media by government agencies, the UK's Daily Mail reported.
“The degree to which government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind,” Musk told Carlson. “I was not aware of that."
"Would that include people's DMs?" asked Carlson.
"Yes," Musk somberly replied.
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) April 16, 2023
Musk also sounded the alarm about emerging artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots.
"AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance, or bad car production in the sense that it has the potential — however small one may regard that probability, but it is non-trivial — it has the potential for civilizational destruction," he said.
The Feds' access to Twitter under the old management was also exposed through a series of "Twitter Files" releases -- dumps of information given to a select group of journalists to publish in batches.
According to Musk, previous Twitter executives kept "secret blacklists" of well-known conservatives. He shared these files with two journalists, Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss, who then discussed how entire teams of Twitter employees were assigned to create blacklists of notable Twitter users, the majority of whom were conservatives, in order to suppress and "shadow ban" them on the platform.
Shadow banning is a method of partially blocking a user from being visible to an online community. On Twitter, that meant restricting the visibility of a user's tweets without notifying them of the action. This was typically done by suppressing the user's content in search results or by limiting their reach to a specific audience.
According to Weiss, these blacklists “prevent disfavored tweets from trending and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics – all in secret, without informing users.”
“Twitter once had a mission ‘to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.’ Along the way, barriers nevertheless were erected,” wrote Weiss.
Twitter's blacklist included several notable individuals, including Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Bhattacharya has been a vocal critic of the prevailing groupthink regarding COVID-19 and has strongly opposed lockdown measures.
Weiss revealed that Bhattacharya's opposition to lockdown policies resulted in his inclusion in the "Trends Blacklist," which prevented his tweets from trending.
Additionally, Dan Bongino, a conservative commentator, was placed on the "Search Blacklist," which made it difficult for Twitter users to find his posts through searches. Charlie Kirk, the founder of Turning Point USA, was also blacklisted, with his account tagged with "Do Not Amplify," limiting the reach of his content on the platform.
“We ALWAYS knew we were a target of the Twitter suppression machine. ALWAYS,” wrote Bongino on Twitter in December. “Yet liberals insisted it was another ‘conspiracy theory.’ Tonight is vindication, yet I expect no apologies from liberals. They live to abuse power and they’ll make no apologies for doing so.”
"We ALWAYS knew we were a target of the Twitter suppression machine..... Yet liberals insisted it was another 'conspiracy theory.' Tonight is vindication, yet I expect no apologies from liberals. They live to abuse power and they’ll make no apologies for doing so." #DanBongino
— fodalo7 (@AmFodalo7) December 9, 2022