Twitter removes nearly 4,800 accounts linked to Iran government
Twitter has removed nearly 4,800 accounts it claimed were being used by Iranian government to spread misinformation, the company said on Thursday.
Iran has made wide use of Twitter to support its political and diplomatic goals.
The step aims to prevent election interference and misinformation.
The social media giant released a transparency report that detailed recent efforts to tamp down on the spread of misinformation by insidious actors on its platform. In addition to the Iranian accounts, Twitter suspended four accounts it suspected of being linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA), 130 fake accounts associated with the Catalan independence movement in Spain and 33 accounts operated by a commercial entity in Venezuela.
It revealed the deletions in an update to its transparency report.
The 4,800 accounts were not a unified block, said Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity in a blog detailing its actions.
The Iranian accounts were divided into three categories depending on their activities. More than 1,600 accounts were tweeting global news content that supported the Iranian policies and actions. A total of 248 accounts were engaged specifically in discussion about Israel. Finally, a total of 2,865 accounts were banned due to taking on a false persona which was used to target political and social issues in Iran.
Since October 2018, Twitter has been publishing transparency reports on its investigations into state-backed information operations, releasing datasets on more than 30 million tweets.
Twitter has been regularly culling accounts it suspects of election interference from Iran, Russia and other nations since the fallout from the 2016 US presidential election. Back in February, the social media platform announced it had banned 2,600 Iran-linked accounts and 418 accounts tied to Russia’s IRA it suspected of election meddling.
“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 said.