A dashboard that claimed to monitor the activities of Russian bots on Twitter made false claims about hundreds of right-wing users, according to new documents.
Clint Watts, a former FBI agent, created the Hamilton 68 dashboard, which claimed that various accounts on Twitter were part of a Russian operation. However, Twitter did not find evidence of the claims made by the dashboard. According to a report released by journalist Matt Taibbi, the company wanted to fight back against the allegations.
1.THREAD: Twitter Files #15
MOVE OVER, JAYSON BLAIR: TWITTER FILES EXPOSE NEXT GREAT MEDIA FRAUD pic.twitter.com/bLRpDpuWql
— Matt Taibbi (@mtaibbi) January 27, 2023
"In an email sent to his colleagues in October 2017, Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of trust and safety, called out the Hamilton 68 dashboard. He noted that the list was "bullshit." In August that year, Nick Pickles, another Twitter employee, said the list was "hardly illuminating" the alleged Russian operation's activities."
In January 2018, Roth told his colleagues that the Hamilton 68 dashboard had made false claims about the activities of right-wing users.
According to Taibbi, various media outlets cited the Hamilton 68 dashboard in reporting about how Russian bots had been amplifying conservative-oriented hashtags. These included topics such as Donald Trump, Laura Ingraham, and Fox News.
The Hamilton 68 dashboard claimed that it had identified 600 accounts that were linked to Russian efforts to influence the US political system. However, the list was never released publicly.
As part of its advisory council, ASD has attracted prominent figures such as Bill Kristol, a conservative author, and Michael McFaul, a former US ambassador to Russia. Other members of the group include John Podesta, the former head of the Hillary for America campaign, and former heads of the NSA, CIA, and DHS.
After going through the Hamilton 68 list, Roth concluded in February 2018 that the majority of the accounts were not linked to Russia and were mainly right-leaning users.
In January 2018, Roth criticized the list, saying that it had unfairly labeled people as "Russian trolls." He also noted that the individuals on it did not have the necessary recourse to challenge their claims.
Several Twitter executives, including Roth, were considering publicly refuting the Hamilton 68 list due to how it was being presented. One of them, who was a potential White House spokesperson, discouraged Roth from releasing the dashboard.
"In February 2018, Horne told Roth that they should be careful about publicly criticizing ASD. In the same month, Pete Buttigieg's future adviser Carlos Horne also told Roth that they should play a longer game by not calling out the Hamilton 68 list."
According to Taibbi, the majority of the accounts on the list were British, Canadian, and American users. The only ones that were linked to Russia were those operated by the propaganda arm of the Russian government known as RT.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Daily Caller.