Social Media

Twitter removed 3,465 accounts related to state-linked information operations

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Dec 03, 2021
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The twitter accounts removed includes a network of 276 inauthentic accounts from Mexico.

Twitter has removed 3,465 accounts related to state-linked information operations.

The account sets include eight distinct operations that the social media major has attributed to six countries – Mexico, the People's Republic of China (PRC), Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Venezuela, respectively.

"Every account and piece of content associated with these operations has been permanently removed from the service," Twitter said in a blog post.

"In most instances, accounts were suspended for various violations of our platform manipulation and spam policies," it said.

Account geography

The accounts removed included a network of 276 inauthentic accounts from Mexico.

These accounts shared primarily civic content, in support of government initiatives related to public health and political parties, Twitter said.

Twitter has removed a network of accounts from the People's Republic of China, "that amplified Chinese Communist Party narratives related to the treatment of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang."

It has released a sample of 2,048 accounts to its archive.

It also removed a network of 112 accounts connected to “Changyu Culture,” a private company backed by the Xinjiang regional government.

It also removed a network of 16 accounts linked to the IRA that attempted an information operation in the Central African Republic.

"The operation relied on a mix of inauthentic and real accounts to introduce a pro-Russia viewpoint into Central African political discourse," it said.

It also removed a network of 50 accounts "that attacked the civilian Libyan government and actors that support it, while voicing significant support for Russia’s geopolitical position in Libya and Syria."

It removed a network of 268 accounts from Tanzania that "utilised to file bad faith reports on Twitter, targeting members and supporters of FichuaTanzania and its founder."

A subset of these accounts also Tweeted pro-government content primarily associated with #chaguamagufuli2020.

The platform removed a network of 418 accounts from Uganda.

These accounts were "engaged in coordinated inauthentic activity in support of Ugandan presidential incumbent Museveni and his party, National Resistance Movement (NRM)," it said.

277 Venezuelan accounts were removed. These were part of l a network of that "amplified accounts, hashtags, and topics in support of the government and its official narratives," it said.

"Many of the individuals behind this abuse had authorized an app, “Twitter Patria,” to access their accounts and timelines. We suspended the “Twitter Patria” app, a set of account holders leveraging and managing it, and a series of similar apps," it further said.

Data disclosure

The tech major has also shared relevant data from this disclosure with three research partners: the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Cazadores de Fake News, and the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO).

Twitter had first published a public archive of data related to state-backed information operations three years ago. Since that first disclosure in October 2018, the platform has shared 37 datasets of attributed platform manipulation campaigns originating from 17 countries, spanning more than 200 million Tweets and nine terabytes of media.

"Moving forward, we’ll share data from state-linked information operations with a global consortium across research, academia, civil society, and media. And, in time, we hope to expand beyond info ops, sharing data insights about other areas, such as misinformation, coordinated harmful activity, and safety," it said.

Published on December 03, 2021

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