An email from the Connecticut Secretary of State’s Office to Twitter flagging some “suspicious accounts” has surfaced in the latest round of the Twitter Files posted by journalist Matt Taibbi after he and others were given access to communications between Twitter and government officials by Elon Musk following his purchase of the social media platform.
“Our Election Information Security Analyst came across some suspicious accounts that are ostensibly CT-based and attempting to look official-ish,” the October 26, 2020, email said under the subject “Fake Twitter Accounts” and addressed to “Misinformation Reports.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was CC’d in the email. It is not known at this time which accounts were flagged and whether those posts were removed by Twitter in response to the email request.
Connecticut employed an election disinformation officer during the 2020 election using federal funds. The analyst was tasked with “working with federal law enforcement and the various social media platforms” to “quickly find and remove election misinformation before it could spread,” according to a 2022 press release from the Secretary of State’s Office.
The 2016 election of President Donald Trump was beset with claims of foreign interference, while the 2020 election was beset with claims of widespread election fraud, ultimately culminating with a riot at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
The State of Connecticut took up funding the position of a full-time security analyst to combat election misinformation in 2022 before another major election cycle in order to “monitor and combat election misinformation,” at a cost of $150,000. The request was approved and cyber security analyst Anthony Pollicito was hired for the position in October of 2022, according to CT News Junkie.
Pollicito’s work in the SOTS Office will purportedly be limited only to election-related posts on social media, but Attorney General William Tong joined a number of other state Attorneys General in reaching out to social media companies regarding social media posts about the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a March 2021 letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Tong and others requested the social media giants remove the accounts of “prominent ‘anti-vaxxers’,” which they called the “Disinformation Dozen” in accordance with the social media sites’ policies. The Disinformation Dozen included Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and physician Joseph Mercola, according to a press release.
“As Attorneys General committed to protecting the safety and well-being of the residents of our states, we write to express our concern about the use of your platforms to spread fraudulent information about coronavirus vaccines and to seek your cooperation in curtailing the dissemination of such information,” the letter states. “The people and groups spreading falsehoods and misleading Americans about the safety of coronavirus vaccines are threatening the health of our communities, slowing progress in getting our residents protected from the virus, and undermining economic recovery in our states.”
The “Twitter Files” have been released in batches on Twitter purporting to show collusion between Twitter, the FBI and other government agencies in getting accounts removed or suspended from the platform.
Tong was reelected as Attorney General in 2022, while Secretary of State Denise Merill ended her tenure at the office, declining to run for another term. Former State Representative Stephanie Thomas won election to the office over Republican rival Dominic Rapini and was sworn into office this week.