Social networking platform Twitter has uncovered a nefarious plot under which, thousands of automated accounts were being used to discourage voters from participating in the next elections.
Staff at the Democratic Party flagged these accounts and brought the, to Twitter’s notice, post which the platform decided to delete these automated accounts. At the last count, well over ten thousand accounts had been permanently deleted.
Speaking on the topic to TechCrunch, Twitter said:
We removed a series of accounts for engaging in attempts to share disinformation in an automated fashion – a violation of our policies. We stopped this quickly and at its source.
However, the company refused to comment upon the perpetrator, or what kind of accounts exactly, were deleted. Thousands of accounts, all geared towards a single aim…..well, call me a fan of conspiracy theories but this here certainly isn’t happenstance, but appears to be part of a well-orchestrated plan that had significant resources behind it.
Meanwhile, this is also part of Twitter’s overarching attempt to clean house. Earlier in the year, It deleted over 1.2 million accounts that were promoting terrorist content. Then in May, it again pulled the plug on around 40 million accounts that were sending automated messages with unsavory intents.
These are huge numbers. Considering the 335 million monthly actives that Twitter has, 40 million malicious accounts are certainly worrying.
While Twitter does not have an iron clad policy against spread of disinformation unlike Facebook, the company says that its open and real time nature was a deterrent to false information on its own. Of course, that deterrent is not stopping almost 700,000 accounts active at the time of the last presidential elections, from pushing out almost a million tweets a day, today.
Meanwhile, Twitter said that it had measures in place to ensure that this year’s elections weren’t affected by misinformation.
(We have) established open lines of communication and direct, easy escalation paths for state election officials, Homeland Security, and campaign organizations from both major parties to help us enforce our policies vigorously and protect conversational health on our service.