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Elon Musk says US gov’t had ‘full access’ to Twitter, including DMs

Elon Musk. (Jerome Adamstein/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
April 17, 2023

Twitter CEO Elon Musk said the U.S. government at one point had “full access to everything” on the social media platform, including users’ private messages, during a recent interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

The comment from Musk, who acquired Twitter in a $44 billion takeover last year, was included in a teaser for a wider interview set to be broadcast Monday and Tuesday. 

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“The degree to which various government agencies effectively had full access to everything that was going on on Twitter blew my mind. I was not aware of that,” Musk said, according to the clip Carlson posted on Twitter.

Asked by Carlson whether that access included viewing direct messages between users, Musk replied, “Yes.”

Musk’s comments come after revelations of government influence on Twitter’s content moderation, details of which were made public after Musk took over the company and released internal documents called the “Twitter Files” through a group of independent journalists.

The journalists described the documents, many of which were emails, as revealing collaboration between the government and Twitter employees to censor politically undesirable content. Musk has indicated he thinks the FBI should be investigated for its role in social media censorship.

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The FBI responded to some of the allegations contained in the reporting, calling them “misinformation” and saying the documents “show nothing more than examples of our traditional, longstanding and ongoing federal government and private sector engagements.”

In another portion of Carlson’s interview with Musk, the tech billionaire discussed his view that the development of artificial intelligence “has the potential of civilizational destruction.”