Twitter has taken down 32,242 accounts after discovering what it said were three major state-backed propaganda operations. In a blog post (opens in new tab) earlier today (June 12), the social-media giant confirmed that it had "archived" thousands of accounts linked to the governments of China, Russia and Turkey.
Twitter says that the accounts were suspended for various violations of its platform manipulation policies: “Every account and piece of content associated with these operations has been permanently removed from the service.”
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The blog post went on to say: “In addition, we have shared relevant data from this disclosure with two leading research partners: Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Stanford Internet Observatory.”
The biggest of these networks was based in China, and Twitter discovered and subsequently removing 23,750 accounts that were the "core" of the network. It said the accounts tweeted "in Chinese languages," spread positive narratives about the Chinese Communist Party and propagated deceptive stories about the political situation in Hong Kong.
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Twitter also archived 1,152 accounts found to be promoting the pro-Putin United Russia party and launching attacks on Russian political dissidents.
“A network of accounts related to this media operation was suspended for violations of our platform manipulation policy, specifically cross-posting and amplifying content in an inauthentic, coordinated manner for political ends,” explained Twitter.
Finally, 7,340 accounts promoting Turkish government positions were taken down for breaking the social network’s manipulation rules, with Twitter saying: “Detected in early 2020, this network of accounts was employing coordinated inauthentic activity, which was primarily targeted at domestic audiences within Turkey.
“Based on our analysis of the network’s technical indicators and account behaviors, the collection of fake and compromised accounts was being used to amplify political narratives favorable to the AK Parti, and demonstrated strong support for President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan.”
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