Musk says Twitter will 'absolutely' refuse payments to censor after platform took $3.4m from FBI

The FBI gave Twitter more than $3.4 million for processing requests, an email shows.
Elon Musk, Germany, Aug. 13, 2021

New Twitter CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday pledged to "absolutely" not accept payments to censor stories after revelations in the so-called "Twitter Files" showed that the social media company had received more than $3.4 million from the FBI.

"Government paid Twitter millions of dollars to censor info from the public," Musk tweeted in a post directing users to a Twitter thread from reporter Michael Shellenberger, who released the seventh edition of the Twitter Files.

Shellenberger on Monday posted an image of a February 2021 email to Twitter's then-special counsel Jim Baker, who previously served as FBI general counsel. The sender, whose name is blocked, tells Baker: "I am happy to report we have collected $3,415,323 since October 2019!" The money came as a "reimbursement for the time spent processing requests from the FBI," the sender said. 

Other Twitter Files show that the FBI extensively collaborated with the social media agency to suppress stories. 

One Twitter user asked Musk on Tuesday whether he was "willing to make a pledge that Twitter will never accept payment from anyone, government or otherwise, to censor or suppress any information."

Musk responded with one word: "Absolutely."