TWITTER DELETES OVER 170,000 ACCOUNTS LINKED TO CHINA, RUSSIA AND TURKEY
Twitter has deleted accounts of over 170,000 users linked to the Chinese, Russian and Turkish Governments allegedly used to push their own propaganda, on sensitive issues concerning Hong Kong protests, Covid-19, and other topics.
The giant social media app made the disclosure on Friday, June 12, 2020, stating that it has removed tens of thousands of “State-linked” accounts used by China, Russia, and Turkey to push their own propaganda, disseminate false information, or attack critics.
The development was in response to the usage of the social media platform to spread Geo-political narratives that are favourable to the communist party of China, which manipulates the platform's policies, Twitter explained.
The US-based Social media company said it identified 23,750 accounts linked to China as well as 150,000 "amplifier" accounts, used to boost the tweets from the main accounts.
Twitter claimed that the accounts were identified early hence, the current network had ‘failed to achieve considerable traction’ but was involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities.
The Turkish and Russian networks were much smaller, with 7,340 and 1,152 accounts respectively.
According to the statement, all accounts and their content have been removed from Twitter but have been placed on an archive database for researchers.
It added that it has officially blocked China, though many people in the country are able to access it using a VPN.
In response, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday frowned at the removal of the targetted accounts. According to the country’s spokesperson, Hua Chunying, China is the largest victim of disinformation.
"If Twitter really wants to do something they should shut those coordinated and organized accounts that attack and smear China," Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the ministry said.
Chunying added that China is the largest victim of disinformation, and they are against the spreading of disinformation.
Twitter said the suspicious accounts were detected with the help of systems it used to previously delete state-linked accounts last August during the violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Recall, the Social media giant, flagged US President, Donald Trump's tweets, claiming it violates its recent policy.
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“In serving the public conversation, our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter and to limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content,” head of site integrity, Yoel Roth announced when the change was made.