Twitter has removed another batch of accounts from its platform for participating in what it calls ‘coordinated manipulation.’
The social media giant announced late Monday that it had suspended another 486 accounts believed to be linked to Iran’s disinformation campaign, bringing the total number of deleted accounts to 770.
Last week, Twitter announced it had taken down 486 accounts that were tied to Iran.
Twitter has removed another batch of accounts from its platform for participating in what it calls ‘coordinated manipulation.’ It removed an additional 486 accounts from its site
‘Since our initial suspensions last Tuesday, we have continued our investigation, further building our understanding of these networks,’ Twitter’s safety division wrote in a tweet.
‘In addition, we suspended an additional 486 accounts for violating the policies outlined last week.
‘That bringing the total suspended to 770,’ they continued.
Most of the suspended accounts are believed to be from Iran. Fewer than 100 were located in the US and they tweeted about 867 times, were followed by 1,268 accounts and had joined Twitter less than a year ago.
As with much of the content discovered from fake accounts, they were sharing content meant to sow division between Americans, often touching on inflammatory political issues.
Interestingly, unlike other disinformation campaigns that have involved far-right themes, the content removed by Twitter involved anti-Trump rhetoric.
Other disinformation campaigns have involved far-right themes, but the content removed involved anti-Trump rhetoric. Pictured are examples of tweets from suspended accounts
As with much of the content discovered from fake accounts, they were sharing content meant to sow division between Americans, often touching on inflammatory political issues
For example, one post states ‘The exact moment American stopped being “great,” and shows a photo of President Donald Trump being sworn in.
Another one of the identified accounts claimed the FBI was blackmailing Trump.
‘We identified one advertiser from the newly suspended set that ran $30 in ads in 2017,’ Twitter’s safety unit noted.
‘Those ads did not target the US and the billing address was located outside of Iran.
‘We remain engaged with law enforcement and our peer companies on the issue,’ they continued.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently admitted in an interview with CNN that the company hasn’t ‘figured out’ fake news yet, noting that policing false information is a difficult task
The move comes after Twitter announced last week that it had suspended 284 accounts from its platform, also for engaging in ‘coordinated manipulation.’
Shortly before it, Facebook said it had removed 652 pages, groups and accounts that were tied to Russia and Iran.
Facebook and Twitter worked with cybersecurity firm FireEye to identify the suspicious accounts.
‘These were networks of accounts that were misleading people about who they were and what they were doing,’ CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a call with reporters.
‘We ban this kind of behavior because authenticity matters. People need to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook.’
Google also removed 58 accounts from YouTube, Google+ and other sites that were linked to Iran.
WHAT ARE TWITTER’S POLICIES?
Graphic violence and adult content
The company does not allow people to post graphic violence.
This could be any form of gory media related to death, serious injury, violence, or surgical procedures.
Adult content – that includes media that is pornographic and/or may be intended to cause sexual arousal – is also banned.
Some form of graphic violence and adult content is allowed in Tweets marked as containing sensitive media.
However, these images are not allowed in profile or header images.
Twitter may sometimes require users to remove excessively graphic violence out of respect for the deceased and their families.
The platform is not allowed to be used to further illegal activities.
Users are not allowed to use badges, including but not limited to the ‘promoted’ or ‘verified’ Twitter badges, unless provided by Twitter.
Accounts using unauthorised badges as part of their profile photos, header photos, display names, or in any way that falsely implies affiliation with Twitter or authorisation from Twitter to display these badges, may be suspended.
Users may not buy or sell Twitter usernames.
Username squatting – when people take the name of a trademark company or a celebrity – is not allowed.
Twitter also has the right to remove accounts that are inactive for more than six months.
Context matters when evaluating for abusive behaviour and determining appropriate enforcement actions.
Factors we may take into consideration include whether the behaviour is targeted at an individual; the report has been filed by the target of the abuse or a bystander or the behaviour is newsworthy and in the legitimate public interest.
Users may not make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death, or disease of an individual or group of people.
This includes, but is not limited to, threatening or promoting terrorism.
Users may not promote or encourage suicide or self-harm. Users may not promote child sexual exploitation.
Users may not direct abuse at someone by sending unwanted sexual content, objectifying them in a sexually explicit manner, or otherwise engaging in sexual misconduct.
Users may not use hateful images or symbols in your profile image or profile header.
Users may not publish or post other people’s private information without their express authorisation and permission.
Users may not post or share intimate photos or videos of someone that were produced or distributed without their consent.
Users may not threaten to expose someone’s private information or intimate media.
Domain ownership information and other evidence was ‘strongly linked’ to Iran’s state broadcaster, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, the firm said.
It comes as Twitter, Google, Facebook and others face growing scrutiny from users, experts and lawmakers to ramp up security efforts ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
All of them have struggled to deal with the spread of false information and fake accounts on their platforms.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently admitted in an interview with CNN that the company hasn’t ‘figured out’ fake news yet, noting that policing false information is a difficult task.
Additionally, Dorsey is set to testify before a U.S. House of Representatives committee on Sept. 5 about how Twitter monitors and polices content.