A new report by the US Judiciary Committee accuses the FBI of conducting an influence campaign on behalf of the Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU.
According to the report, this led to the suspension of authentic U.S. social media accounts, including a verified Russian-language U.S. State Department Instagram account.
The report reveals serious flaws in the FBI’s review of social media accounts flagged by the SBU as spreading “Russian propaganda.”
This is because several of the accounts the FBI forwarded to Meta for review belonged to American journalists and ordinary American citizens of Russian origin.
The most notable blunder, however, was when the FBI summarily forwarded the SBU’s request to remove the US State Department’s Russian-language Instagram account, @usaporusski, to Meta.
Harsh criticism from the Judiciary Committee
The FBI, which has chosen not to comment on the report, is now being harshly criticized by the US Judiciary Committee. The committee writes in a press release that these revelations “highlights the FBI’s unconstitutional role in enabling the SBU’s censorship regime and raises grave concerns about the FBI’s credibility, reliability, and competence as the nation’s premier law enforcement organization”.
They also point to the scope of the operation and the need for continued oversight: “The coordination between the FBI, SBU, and American social media companies is substantial, and the full extent of the FBI’s involvement with the SBU remains the subject of ongoing investigation”.