Twitter Shutters 32,000 State-Linked Accounts

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Twitter has added a further 32,242 accounts to the many already removed from the platform for links to state-backed influence operations.

Working with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO), the social network found and removed all content associated with the accounts, which are linked to three campaigns by the Chinese, Russian and Turkish governments.

The vast majority (23,750) have been linked to Beijing’s efforts to promote narratives favorable to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) “while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong.”

Although these were caught before being able to amass large numbers of followers, around 150,000 additional accounts were detected acting as “amplifiers” of the content produced by this core of 23,000.

“Based on feedback from researchers on our prior disclosures that we need to better refine the disclosure process to enable efficient investigation of the core activity, we have not included the 150,000 amplifier accounts in the public archive,” Twitter explained.

The firm also shut down 1152 accounts linked to Current Policy, a media website promoting “state-backed political propaganda” in Russia, attacking dissidents and favoring Putin’s United Russia party.

The final campaign spotted and shut down by Twitter was detected in early 2020 and featured fake and compromised accounts promoting political narratives favorable to the ruling AK Parti of President Tayyip Erdogan.

Some 7340 accounts were closed, several of which were associated with organizations critical of the government and Erdogan.

“These compromised accounts have been repeated targets of account hacking and takeover efforts by the state actors identified above,” said Twitter. “The broader network was also used for commercial activities, such as cryptocurrency-related spam.”

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