After Facebook’s self-declaration, now Twitter has announced that it had found 201 Russia linked accounts. The micro-blogging site stated that out of the 450 Russia linked accounts declared by Facebook, it found 201 corresponding accounts on its platform.
A few weeks ago, Facebook revealed the Russia linked accounts that purchased ads on its platform during the U.S. election. On Thursday, Twitter said the 22 accounts which were linked to the Facebook accounts, have already been suspended for violations of its terms and conditions of use. The remaining 179 accounts “related or linked” to the 22 accounts were evaluated first, and some were suspended accordingly. Twitter noted that none of the accounts were registered for ads on its platform.
According to Twitter, a total of three accounts linked to the Kremlin promoted as many as 1,823 tweets which were directly or indirectly aimed at the United States market. The Russian government-backed site spent as much as $274,100 on the U.S.-targeted ads in 2016, primarily for news stories and targeting them at followers of mainstream media accounts.
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In its revelation, Twitter focused more on the progress made on the Russian investigation since the election. The micro-blogging firm said its systems catch over 3.2 suspicious accounts per week and 450,000 suspect logins per day.
In a blog post, Twitter noted, “Due to the nature of these inquiries, we may not always be able to publicly share what we discuss with investigators.”
Further, the company said it is aware of the need for greater transparency into how it tackles bot and manipulative networks.
Despite the revelation, Twitter came under fire when Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, criticized the site for not understanding the seriousness of the matter or answering the questions of the committee, notes The Chicago Tribune. Warner went on to say that Twitter’s response is “deeply disappointing” and “frankly inadequate on almost every level.”
Warner said the platform needs to do a lot more in this regard, given that Twitter’s presentation hardly answers the types of questions that the Senate committee has asked, notes the Financial Times. Twitter was also criticized for just basing its efforts on Facebook’s efforts.
The U.S. government is cracking own on Russian operatives who used such social platforms to disrupt the elections in the United States and spread disinformation during the 2016 campaign. Twitter, however, said it is providing its full support to the congressional investigation.
“We will continue to strengthen Twitter against attempted manipulation, including malicious automated accounts and spam, as well as other activities that violate our Terms of Service,” the company said.
According to analysts, Twitter is most vulnerable of all the social platforms as it does not even know the extent of Russian meddling on the platform. The company itself admits that 5% of Twitter accounts are bots, but experts believe the number could be much higher.
Twitter, Google and Facebook have now been summoned to a public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on November 1.