Ahead of the election season, Twitter banned nearly 5,000 accounts associated with foreign governments. The social media networking platform removed 4,779 accounts linked to Iran, four accounts associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency, 130 accounts originating from Spain and 33 originating from Venezuela.
“We believe Twitter has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the public conversation — including through the timely disclosure of information about attempts to manipulate Twitter to influence elections and other civic conversations by foreign or domestic state-backed entities,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity, wrote in a company blog post.
The data, grouped in six sets, is available for download in Twitter’s Elections Integrity Hub, which holds an archive of all Tweets and media the company tied to state-backed accounts. This is the third time Twitter has released archived data sets, with the first being in October 2018 and the second in January of this year.
As politicians and researchers discuss the implications of how advanced technology, like deep-fakes, can spread fake news even more rapidly on social media platforms, Twitter’s archive helps them document every tweet posted on government or state-backed accounts.
Of the accounts removed, the first set of 1,666 accounts tweeted global news angled in favor of the Iranian government. The second set of 248 accounts engaged in a contentious discussion of Israel and the third set of 2,865 accounts employed “false personas” to target social and political conversations about Iran.
These accounts have been removed in an attempt to make sure that the election campaigns and outcomes are not in any way rigged by unfair and unethical social media practices.