Twitter is letting 677000 users know they engaged with Russian propaganda
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jan 21, 2018,
Jan 21, 2018, 1:19
Twitter plans to notify users who may have [seen] content tweeted during the 2016 USA presidential race by accounts connected to the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg "troll farm" implicated in Russia's alleged election meddling.
In December 2017, its systems identified and challenged more than 6.4 million suspicious accounts globally per week - a 60 per cent increase in its detection rate from October 2017.
Twitter underestimated the number of accounts spreading Russian propaganda by more than ten thousand, the company quietly disclosed late Friday.
Twitter said that only 8% of tweets made by these accounts were election related, which is actually how IRA was highly successful in making many believe these were real Americans.
The social network said it had identified 3,814 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), the Russian troll farm.
Twitter also addressed the issue on Friday, announcing that it would notify nearly 670,000 users in the U.S. who followed, retweeted, or "liked" posts from suspect accounts during the election period.
Lawmakers and researchers say the St Petersburg agency employs hundreds of people to push pro-Kremlin content under phony social-media accounts.
"We have suspended all of these accounts for Terms of Service violations, primarily spam, and all but a few accounts, which were restored to legitimate users, remain suspended", Twitter said in a post.
The company in September said it had suspended about 200 Russian-linked accounts, and it suspended advertising from Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik the following month.
The top Democrat from the intelligence committee in the U.S. House praised on Friday the move taken by Twitter and urged other technology companies to continue investigating abuse on their own platforms by the Russians during the country's 2016 elections.
Working with congressional investigators, Twitter is also sharing the account handles found with Congress.
Twitter said it shared the information with Congress, telling the legislative body that it found an additional 13,512 Russia-linked bots since its last analysis, bringing the total number to 50,258. According to Twitter, these accounts represented 0.016 percent of total Twitter accounts at the time.