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Twitter suspends 1,594 state-sponsored malicious accounts

New Delhi : Micro-blogging platform Twitter has suspended 1,594 accounts associated with five state-sponsored networks, including ties to the Saudi government, for various violations of its platform manipulation policies.

The malicious accounts include independent information operations attributed to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Thailand and Russia.

Along with the enforcement, Twitter said on Thursday it has shared early access to the data with the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) for independent investigation and analysis.

“We identified a network of primarily compromised accounts on Twitter operating from Iran, which artificially amplified conversations on politically sensitive topics, including Black Lives Matter (BLM), the murder of George Floyd and other issues of racial and social justice in the US,” the company elaborated.

In all, Twitter suspended a total of 104 accounts connected with this campaign.

It also investigated and removed 33 accounts originating in Saudi Arabia, with ties to the Saudi government.

“These accounts were created to impersonate key Qatari political figures and to advance narratives about Qatari politics which are geostrategically favorable to the Saudi authorities,” the platform informed.

In Russia, Twitter communicated proactively about the set of five state-backed accounts at the beginning of September.

“Today, we’re adding them to the archive. Working collaboratively with industry peers and the FBI, we were made aware of a number of accounts that had potential links to a fake news agency called PeaceData,” it informed.

“We believe we have a responsibility to protect the integrity of the public conversation and hold state power to account,” Twitter said.

The company permanently suspended 526 fake accounts run by youth organisations with ties to the Cuban government.

In Thailand, the Twitter investigation uncovered a network of accounts partaking in information operations linked to the Royal Thai Army (RTA).

“These accounts were engaging in amplifying pro-RTA and pro-government content, as well as engaging in behavior targeting prominent political opposition figures”.

Twitter disclosed 926 such accounts based in Thailand.

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