Elon Musk Fact-Checked Hard By Dem Congressman

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Matt Taibbi, an associate of billionaire and public menace Elon Musk, claimed on Twitter late last week that “Instead of chasing child sex predators or terrorists, the FBI has agents — lots of them — analyzing and mass-flagging social media posts” — which is a flatly nonsensical characterization of the agency’s operations. It can easily do both. After Musk joined in, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) provided a fact-check.

“Dear @mtaibbi: I’m on the House Judiciary Committee that has oversight over the @FBI and you are lying,” Lieu posted as an initial response. “The FBI has lots of agents chasing child sex predators and terrorists. Please stop undermining and lying about federal law enforcement.” Taibbi responded with a series of questions ranging from the practical to the more existential, like why federal law enforcement agencies are “in the business of analyzing and flagging social media content at all.” Did this guy just wake up after 30 years or something? Does he really not get how some of the very publicly established functions of law enforcement agencies entail looking into circumstances that while not part of an already known criminal investigation could alert authorities to corrupt or criminal activities?

That’s when Elon, sounding like he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, joined the thread. “Congressman Lieu, were you aware of this program and did you approve it? Simple questions require simple answers,” he said. Lieu replied: “Dear @elonmusk: Simple answer, have you tried reading FBI’s mission? From 2017 program: “The FBI considers strategic engagement with U.S. technology companies, including threat indicator sharing, to be important in combating foreign influence actors.””

Members of Congress do not approve internal policy at the FBI. The oversight Lieu referenced is just that — oversight. Musk is one of the richest people in the world and does a large amount of business in the U.S. — and he doesn’t get that? Seriously? In addition, there is presumably no evidence the “flagging” Taibbi was talking about includes somehow forcing Twitter to take action on certain accounts or posts outside of the normal processes of the court system, should authorities be so inclined. This isn’t the first time members of the House or Senate have taken public notice of Elon. Previously, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) sought information on the circumstances surrounding the previous ease with which paying Twitter users could create verified accounts in the names of government officials, something that obviously threatened to cause chaos. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) also joined those criticizing Musk after several high-profile journalists were suspended from Twitter.

Elon tied the suspensions to claims those affected were posting location data. The “journalists were aware of the violent stalker and yet still doxxed the real-time location of my family,” he said on Saturday evening. There’s no evidence all or even most who were abruptly booted from the platform actually did so. His reference to a stalker reflects a recent incident in which an individual harassed a car allegedly carrying one of his children, something it’s unclear even happened near an airport, undercutting the idea that the flight-tracking at least some of those suspended reported on — since they’re, you know, reporters — even related to the incident.