Twitter is hard at work trying to clean up its platform. One of the ways the company is doing this is by removing hundreds of ‘troll accounts’, including Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), a network responsible for interfering with the 2016 US presidential election.
Twitter announced on Tuesday, 23 February that it has removed a network of 69 fake accounts that can be reliably tied to Russian state actors’. A number of the banned accounts were found to be promoting narratives that were aligned with the Russian government, while another subset of the network focused on undermining faith in the NATO alliance and its stability.
Today we’re adding new data to our archive of information operations.
State-affiliated networks from Russia, Armenia, and a previously disclosed network from Iran have all been removed from the service.https://t.co/bJDfBWpxcx
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 23, 2021
As part of the cleanup process, Twitter also removed an additional 31 accounts from two networks that show signs of being affiliated with the IRA and Russian government-linked actors. These accounts were banned for amplifying narratives that had been previously associated with the IRA and other Russian influence efforts targeting the United States and European Union.
This is not the first time Twitter has slammed the hammer down on troll accounts. In October 2020 the platform removed approximately 130 accounts originating in Iran that were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate. These accounts were banned based on information provided to them by the FBI.
“We believe we have a responsibility to protect the integrity of the public conversation and to offer transparency on our findings,” Twitter said in a statement.