Way More Accounts Than We Thought Spread Russian Propaganda

Rep. Matt Gaetz right

Update on Twitter's Review of the 2016 U.S. Election - Twitter Blog

The company has also banned Russian state media accounts from buying ads and is creating a "transparency centre" to show how much political campaigns spend on advertising, the identity of the organization funding the campaign, and what demographics the ads targeted.

Twitter said Friday that it has suspended 1,062 new accounts it has found to be linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian "troll farm" which disseminated content meant to interfere in the US political process.

The results of this supplemental analysis are consistent with the results of our previous work: automated election-related content associated with Russian signals represented a very small fraction of the overall activity on Twitter in the ten-week period preceding the 2016 election.

Twitter says it's improving its automated detection methods to weed out suspicious accounts, as well as beefing up its security measures to prevent third-party applications from controlling large numbers of bots.

"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 data was first presented in an incomplete form to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee last November, which held hearings to question Facebook, Google, and Twitter on the role the respective platforms and products played in the Russian effort to help elect President Donald Trump.

All the IRA-related accounts have been suspended and the company is sharing information about them with congressional investigators who are reviewing potential manipulation in the 2016 election. That group has been linked to the Russian government. However, 677,775 Twitter users should be finding out soon enough.

Example of some of the IRA-bot-promoted content on Twitter.

Since the company began its investigation, it said it found a total of 3,814 IRA-linked accounts that sent approximately 175,993 tweets and said 8.4 percent of the tweets were related to the election in the time period they investigated. That brings the total number of such accounts to 50,258, according to Twitter.

"We have developed new techniques for identifying malicious automation (such as near-instantaneous replies to tweets, non-random Tweet timing, and coordinated engagement)", the company said. Those accounts represented about 0.016 percents of the total accounts on Twitter during that period.

Twitter also handed over information to Congress on automated, election-related activity coming from Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign.

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