Twitter deletes thousands of accounts linked to Iran government

A 3D-printed logo for Twitter is seen in this illustrative

Twitter removes thousands of accounts linked to Iran government

Also removed were accounts used for Russian, Catalonian and Venezuelan propaganda.

Twitter said Thursday it removed 4,779 accounts linked to the Iranian government and will add more data from account takedowns to a public database.

Twitter is adding those accounts and their tweets to a public database it launched past year to track its battle against government-linked misinformation.

Tech firms have been accused of allowing political propagandists to use social media to hijack elections, poison online debate, and smear their opponents.

"We believe that people and organizations with the advantages of institutional power and which consciously abuse our service are not advancing healthy discourse but are actively working to undermine it", Twitter's head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, wrote in a June 13 blog post. Anyone can download the datasets, which has some information redacted.

Twitter first released the archive of data associated with known state-backed information operations last October to provide more transparency of information and to stem manipulation on its platform.

Most of the Iranian accounts were found to be spreading news stories angled to support Iranian geopolitical interests or to be fake user profiles created to manipulate online debate.

The 248 accounts in the second set "were more directly engaged with discussions related to Israel specifically", it added.

Twitter has previously targeted alleged Russian bots and this archive contains four more accounts that the firm believes are associated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

"These removals are the result of increased information sharing between industry peers and law enforcement", Twitter said, regarding the fake Russian accounts.

And in Spain, Twitter took down 130 allegedly fake accounts apparently set up to push the views of Catalan separatists.

EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova and Security Commissioner Julian King are scheduled to brief reporters Friday on European efforts to fight political disinformation.

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