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Twitter removes thousands of platform manipulation accounts: NPR



In 2018, Twitter publishes an archive of thousands of accounts for which the designated platform participates in potentially government-supported information campaigns. Since then, it has continued to announce its efforts to eliminate misinformation accounts.

Dennis Charlotte / AFP / Getty Images


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Denis Charlotte / AFP / Getty Images

In 2018, Twitter released an archive of thousands of accounts for which the designated platform participates in potentially state-supported information campaigns. Since then, it has continued to announce its efforts to eliminate misinformation accounts.

Denis Charlet / AFP / Getty Images

Twitter permanently suspended thousands of accounts in its ongoing efforts to combat the spread of misinformation and political strife on its platform, the company said Friday.

The accounts come from six different countries. And they included a Twitter account used by Saud al-Kakhtani, a former adviser to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia and suspected of involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Hashogi.

All this is part of Twitter's seemingly endless task of combating misinformation.

Twitter profiles come from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Ecuador and China, according to a blog post on on Twitter . Groups with suspended accounts have been involved in various information campaigns, using tactics such as spreading content through fake accounts and spamming through retweets.

Accounts were suspended for violating Twitter's policy on manipulating the platform, which Twitter defines as a large-scale aggressive or fraudulent activity that misleads or disrupts people's social media activity.

Twitter suspends or removes accounts associated with this activity throughout the year. In August, the company suspended about 200,000 accounts, which it said were used to discredit a protest against democracy in Hong Kong.

Technology companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have been battling misinformation campaigns for several years in response to criticism from reports that foreign governments are operating their platforms for their own programs.

For now, the progress of companies is slow, said Nina Jankovic, a global associate at the Cannon Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington

. digital literacy.

"It doesn't matter how many of those accounts we delete, they'll just keep cutting," Jankovic said.

Twitter did not suspend or remove accounts. The company has also placed many of them in the archive of millions of tweets, which the platform identifies as part of "government-supported information operations". The idea is to put all the misinformation in one place for research purposes.

Posting this information on Twitter is a step towards self-reflection and transparency. But Jankovic said the move only offers a glimpse of what's there. She said researchers estimate the percentage of fake accounts in Twitter and Facebook accounts is much higher than what social media platforms say.

"Access to data is the main link to everything in understanding how social media really influences our day-to-day lives," she said.


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