Twitter removes 170,000 state-backed accounts based in China
The accounts linked to the PRC focused heavily on Hong Kong. They also promoted messages about the coronavirus pandemic, Taiwan and an exiled Chinese billionaire, Reuters reports. The accounts reportedly had ties to another state-backed operation that Twitter, Facebook and YouTube removed last year for spreading misinformation about Hong Kong.
We’re disclosing new state-linked information operations to our public archive — the only one of its kind in the industry. Originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, and Turkey, all associated accounts and content have been removed. https://t.co/obRqr96iYm
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) June 11, 2020
A network of 7,340 accounts from Turkey were also removed and archived. Twitter says they were amplifying political narratives favorable to the AK Parti and demonstrated strong support for President Erdogan. Another 1,152 accounts with ties to Current Policy, a Russian media website engaging in state-backed political propaganda, were removed and archived, Twitter says. Those accounts promoted the United Russia party and attacked political dissidents.
This is not the first sweep of state-backed accounts that Twitter has performed. Facebook and Google have also banned misleading and state-backed information campaigns, and Facebook recently began labelling media from state-controlled outlets. Twitter recognizes this is an ongoing issue and says its goal is to “remove bad faith actors, and to advance public understanding of these critical topics.”