Twitter says it exposed about 700,000 people to Russian propaganda during 2016 US election

Twitter released a new set of statistics linked to its investigation on Russian propaganda efforts to influence the US presidential election 2016, adding that 677,775 people were divulged to social media posts from more than 50,000 automated accounts with links to the Russian government. Countless new accounts uncovered have been traced back to an organization called the Internet Research Agency (IRA) which has known ties with the Kremlin.


The data was first delivered in an incomplete form to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSIC) in November last year, which held hearings to question Facebook, Google, and twitter on the role that each of the respective platforms and products played in the effort of Russia to help elect President Donald Trump. Twitter says it has uncovered more accounts and new facts on the wide-reaching Russian cyberintelligence campaign.

In a blog post published today, Twitter’s public policy division stated:

“Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period. Because we have already suspended these accounts, the relevant content on Twitter is no longer publicly available.”

Twitter says it is refining its automated detection methods to weed out suspicious accounts, as well as fortifying its security measures to prevent third-party applications from controlling large numbers of bots. Twitter says it placed more than 6.4 million such accounts in the month of December 2017 only using these new methods, a 60 percent increase from just two months prior. The company says it has also removed more than 220,000 third-party apps accountable for lots of suspicious tweets from accessing its application programming interface to automate tweeting and other behavior on the platform.

Twitter also included a set of some of the tweets users were exposed to that have direct links to the Russian government.



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