Twitter Blocks Over 200 Russia-Linked Accounts

Sep 30, 2017, 15:50
Twitter Blocks Over 200 Russia-Linked Accounts

Both committees have looked into how Russian hackers used social media platforms to spread misinformation using fake accounts and other methods during the election.

After it emerged that Russian-linked operatives bought Facebook ads during the 2016 presidential election to promote divisive tendencies among the U.S. public, Twitter announced on Thursday that it had uncovered a similar scheme within its own social network. "All of those identified accounts had already been or immediately were suspended from Twitter for breaking our rules", Twitter announced in a blog post on Thursday. Additionally, Twitter found another 179 accounts.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called Thursday's meeting "deeply disappointing" and slammed the company for providing "derivative" information "based upon accounts that Facebook had identified".

Attempts by Russia-linked social media accounts to influence events in the U.S. apparently weren't limited to last year's United States election.

Twitter, Facebook and Google haven't yet said whether they will accept the invitations to testify publicly before both intelligence committees, according to ABC News. He called Twitter's response to the alleged Russian meddling "inadequate on nearly every level".

Moreover, following a USA intelligence report that Russian news agency Russia Today had attempted to interfere with the US election, Twitter revealed the agency had spent $274,100 on Twitter ads since 2016.

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The House intelligence committee also announced Wednesday it would hold a public hearing with tech companies next month "in order to better understand how Russian Federation used online tools and platforms to sow discord in and influence our election".

Of the 450 accounts that Facebook released as part of its investigation, Twitter was able to match 22 of those to accounts on its own site.

The meat of Twitter's new disclosure is its effort to cross-reference Facebook's list of 470 accounts believed to be linked to the Russian government.

The leaders of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee said the panel would hold an open hearing next month with representatives from unnamed technology companies in an effort to "better understand how Russian Federation used online tools and platforms to sow discord in and influence our election". The company also pointed out that none of these accounts were registered advertisers on the site.

Twitter has said it will continue its investigations.

Warner said the platform needs to do a lot more in this regard, given that Twitter's presentation hardly answers the types of questions that the Senate committee has asked, notes the Financial Times.

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