Twitter says it has removed about 180,000 accounts that they say are government sponsored propaganda accounts. The accounts were Russian, Chinese and Turkish government sponsored. This comes as Facebook made a similar announcement that it would start labelling ads and media accounts linked to the Chinese and Russian governments so users in the United States can see and make their own judgement even though the Facebook move stops short of removing the ads or the account in question.
We’re disclosing new state-linked information operations to our public archive — the only one of its kind in the industry. Originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Turkey, all associated accounts and content have been removed. https://t.co/obRqr96iYm
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) June 11, 2020
The accounts Twitter removed were spreading misinformation about the Coronavirus and other political subjects. The way they operated was that each of these players had core accounts and then several other accounts that were used to support and bolster the misinformation. So, for example, the Chinese had set up about 23,750 core accounts to spread propaganda about the Honk Kong protests while another 150,000 accounts were used to boost the tweets in order to make them look legitimate.
In general, this entire network was involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities. They were Tweeting predominantly in Chinese languages and spreading geopolitical narratives favourable to the Communist Party of China (CCP), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong.
Turkey on the other hand was accused by Twitter of about 7,340 bots. All of the accounts they set up were supportive of the Turkish President Erdogan and his agenda.
Aided in part by useful information sharing from external researchers and our peer companies, we investigated accounts associated with Current Policy, a media website engaging in state-backed political propaganda within Russia. 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.
Twitter says it’s not in any way done purging the site of state sponsored propaganda accounts. It says it will continue to work with researchers and other experts to expose and ultimately remove such accounts as the United States general elections are just about 5 months away.
faek in the 2016 elections and many social media platforms were accused of unknowingly doing little to nothing about it. Tens of millions of dollars were spent on such propaganda in 2016.