Twitter removes thousands of accounts linked to the Iranian government

The microblogging platform revealed on Thursday that 4,779 accounts have been eradicated as it is believed they are all associated with the Iranian government.

Twitter has been releasing transparency reports since October 2018 about state-backed information operations. In the latest report, Twitter has revealed that thousands of accounts located in Iran have been deleted.

Twitter disclosed that more than 1,600 accounts originating in Iran had been removed, as they had been tweeting global news content “often with an angle that benefited the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the Iranian state.”

Twitter have emphasised that platform manipulation is a violation of the rules.

An additional 248 accounts originating in Iran have also been removed as the accounts were directly engaging with discussion related to Israel specifically. Another 2,685 accounts, also originating in Iran, had been removed as the accounts “employed a range of false personas to target conversations about political and social issues in Iran and globally”.

The report also announces that four accounts from Russia had been deleted following investigations into the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA). As well as 130 accounts originating from Spain which were directly associated with the Catalan independence movement. 

“We believe Twitter has a responsibility to protect the integrity of the public conversation — including through the timely disclosure of information about attempts to manipulate Twitter to influence elections and other civic conversations by foreign or domestic state-backed entities.

“We believe the public and research community are better informed by transparency.”

Twitter also added:

“When we have significant evidence to indicate that state-affiliated entities are knowingly trying to manipulate and distort the public conversation, we believe it should be disclosed as a matter of public interest. “

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