Twitter Exposes Thousands Of Russia-Linked Accounts, Releases Records Of 10 Million Tweets
A trove of data released by Twitter shows that over 4,500 accounts linked to Russian and Iranian government agencies have been working to spread influence and misinformation ahead of November’s midterm elections.
The data released by Twitter mere weeks before Americans are set to head to the polls for the midterm elections contains posts made by these accounts, the vast majority of which have been linked to the Russian government affiliated Internet Research Agency, and includes over 10 million tweets, photos and videos.
Spokesmen for the company say Twitter released this data in order to abide by its strict code of transparency.
“In line with our strong principles of transparency and with the goal of improving understanding of foreign influence and misinformation campaigns, we are releasing the full, comprehensive archives of the Tweets and media that are connected with these two previously disclosed and potentially state-backed operations on our service,” wrote Vijaya Gadde and Yoel Roth, the head of legal, policy and trust & safety and the head of site integrity respectively.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later said that this release was only the first of many data dumps coming from the social media company.
“We’re releasing substantially more information about them to enable independent academic research and investigation,” Dorsey said.
Twitter and other social media giants have come under fire in recent years over their role in facilitating the spread of misinformation and fake news by foreign government actors during the 2016 presidential campaign.
In response to the controversy, companies like Twitter and Facebook have been working securing their networks and creating more robust methods of identifying fake accounts and bots.
In January, Twitter took steps to notify accounts that interacted with accounts linked to Russia during the last election cycle, and began deleting millions of bots from the website.