Twitter Inc. said it removed over 170,000 accounts for spreading narratives favorable to Chinese government mainly related to Hong Hong. According to the social media site, the suspension of the accounts were due to various violations of its platform manipulation policies.
Twitter noted that the entire network in China was involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities.
In a blog post, the company said, “They were Tweeting predominantly in Chinese languages and spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China (CCP), while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong.”
As per reports, these accounts also pushed state-linked influence campaigns around Covid-19, protests related to George Floyd and other topics.
Twitter noted that it disclosed 32,242 accounts to its publicly available archive of state-linked information operations. The accounts were of three networks attributed to the People’s Republic of China, Russia and Turkey. The company has permanently removed every account and related content from the service.
In China, the deleted accounts included 23,750 accounts that were part of the highly engaged core network, and around 150,000 amplifier accounts that were designed to boost content shared by these core accounts. Meanwhile, the amplifier accounts are not included in the public archive, noting that majority had little to no follower counts either and were designed to artificially inflate impression metrics.
In August last year, Twitter had disclosed 936 accounts originating from China, noting that they deliberately and specifically attempted to sow political discord in Hong Kong.
As Twitter is blocked in China, many of these accounts accessed Twitter using VPNs, the company then noted.
In Russia, Twitter disclosed all 1,152 accounts and associated media, associated with Current Policy, a media website engaging in state-backed political propaganda within the country.
In Turkey, the company disclosed 7,340 accounts that were part of a network employing coordinated inauthentic activity, which was primarily targeted at domestic audiences.
The company worked with research partners Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Stanford Internet Observatory to analyze the accounts.
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