Twitter removes 5,929 Saudi accounts it deems state backed

By: |
December 21, 2019 8:32 AM

The efforts followed revelations that Russians bankrolled thousands of fake political ads during the 2016 elections.

It shut 200,000 Chinese accounts that targeted Hong Kong protests in August.

Twitter says it has removed nearly 6,000 accounts it has deemed tied to a state-backed information operation in Saudi Arabia. Twitter says the accounts violated its “platform manipulation policies” and targeted discussions related to Saudi Arabia and advancing its geopolitical interests. The 5,929 accounts removed are part of a larger group of 88,000 accounts engaged in “spammy behaviour” across a wide range of topics. But Twitter isn’t disclosing all of them because some might be compromised accounts.

Twitter began archiving Tweets and media it deems to be associated with known state-backed information operations in 2018. It shut 200,000 Chinese accounts that targeted Hong Kong protests in August. Social media companies have been trying to tackle misinformation on their services, especially ahead of next year’s US presidential elections.

The efforts followed revelations that Russians bankrolled thousands of fake political ads during the 2016 elections. Twitter’s announcement Friday underscores the fact that misinformation concerns aren’t limited to the U.S. and Russia. The Saudi Arabian Embassy in the U.S. did not immediately return a request for comment.

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