Wednesday, June 16, 2021
Home News Reports Twitter terminates 1.7 lakh accounts for propagating Chinese narrative

Twitter terminates 1.7 lakh accounts for propagating Chinese narrative

23,750 accounts formed the core of the operations. Another 150,000 accounts were boosting the content posted by core accounts

On Thursday, the microblogging platform Twitter announced that they had terminated 1.7 lakh accounts that were spreading pro-Chinese narrative. A few thousand accounts associated with Turkey and Russia also faced the heat. According to a disclosure report posted on Twitter’s blog, the company announced that it had identified and terminated accounts for misusing the services to spread state-linked information. Twitter also shared the relevant data with its two leading research partners Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) and Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

State-linked operations supporting China

Back in August 2019, Twitter had disclosed termination of around 1000 accounts that were sowing state-backed narrative to undermine the legitimacy and political position of the then ongoing protests in Hong Kong. They identified large clusters of accounts that were posting and retweeting in a coordinated manner to push messages related to Hong Kong protests.

On 11th June 2020, Twitter further disclosed the actions they took against almost 1.7 million accounts that were spreading state-backed posts to push Covid-19 related narrative in favor of China. Their report suggests that 23,750 accounts formed the core of the operations. Another 150,000 accounts were boosting the content posted by core accounts. In feedback given by the researchers on previous disclosures, Twitter was asked to refine the disclosure process to make the investigation more effective. Thus, these 150,000 were not added to the public archive.

The core accounts had low follower count and engagement but they were extensively pushing the state-backed content. On the other hand, with minimal or no followers, 150,000 accounts were explicitly designated to artificially create inflation around the pushed content. The whole network was manipulating the algorithms to make the state-backed content more visible across the platform. They tried to form a positive narrative for the Communist Party of China while pushing a negative narrative around the ongoing Hong Kong protests.

Russian accounts closed violating policies

China-favoring accounts were not the only ones to get terminated during the process. Twitter found out that 1,152 state-backed accounts in Russia were cross-posting and boosting content reach using an unauthentic and coordinated manner. Among these accounts, one was a media website as well that was engaging in political propaganda. “A network of accounts related to this media operation was suspended for violations of our platform manipulation policy, specifically cross-posting and amplifying content in an inauthentic, coordinated manner for political ends. Activities included promoting the United Russia party and attacking political dissidents,” the statement said.

Turkey’s connection

In early 2020, experts at twitter marked 7,340 accounts that were pushing state-backed content using coordinated and inauthentic methods. The main target is such activities was the domestic audience of Turkey. These accounts were posting content favoring AK Parti and showed support for President Erdogan. The experts noticed that the content was being pushed using a significant number of compromised accounts.

Key takeaways of Standford Internet Observatory (SIO)

Twitter shared the details of terminated accounts with SIO on 3rd June 2020. Here are the key takeaways mentioned in the report published Cyber Policy Center of SIO.

  • The accounts that were supporting China’s narrative posted content around Hong Kong protests, Taiwan, Covid-19, and exiled Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui.
  • In the later January 2020, Twitter observed a spike in content related to Covid-19 and a major increase in China-favoring tweets was further visible by the end of March 2020. Most of the accounts were created in late January, while some accounts were as old as of September 2019.
  • The accounts did not have any well defined personal. They had little or no followers and mostly posted content favoring Chinese narrative on Covid-19 and other issues.
  • In the case of Russian accounts, most of them were posting pro-Kremlin, anti-opposition and anti-west tweets.
  • The politically leaning Russian accounts majorly engaged in the cheerleading leadership of Vladimir Putin.
  • Caricature accounts were taking care of the anti-opposition activity. They tried to amplify allegations that opposition cheated in last year’s Moscow Duma elections.
  • Many accounts were associated with paid Twitter services like retweets and link posting. These accounts had a wide variety of content like photography, travel and more. Most of them were not typical political accounts.
  • In the case of Turkey favoring accounts, most of them were posting content cheerleading AKP.
  • Some accounts were critical of the current regime and were taken down as well. Tweets from many accounts were critical of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

This is not the first time Twitter has terminated or suspended accounts for violating regulations. Twitter said in the statement that they would offer more clarity in the public archive. They will continue to develop their system and algorithms to ensure diversity. In summer, Twitter will hold a conference to consult experts, industry and government to discuss possibilities of further collaborations. 

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

As Yogi Sarkar lodges FIR against Twitter, 8 others, Alt News co-founder Zubair deletes fake hate crime video: Details

The UP Govt has initiated action against Twitter for failing to take down tweets that spread misinformation about a crime in the state.

Yogi Adityanath slams Rahul Gandhi for spreading fake news, tells him to stop defaming UP citizens: Here’s what he said

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has slammed former Congress president Rahul Gandhi for spreading fake news.

Government debunks propaganda article published in The Hindu on the surge in FDI inflows for 2020-21: Details

GoI has debunked the propaganda article published in The Hindu on 2 June 2021 over the surge in FDI inflows

British Pakistani rapper Frenzo Harami spews venom on Hindus. Here is what we know about him

Pakistan-born British rapper, who used to sell drugs before becoming a rapper, spoke the language of terrorists, used Gaumutra jibe

Rahul Gandhi shares fake news related to Lord Ram, twice in two days. This is what it shows

What made Rahul Gandhi share a fake news about 'Jai Shri Ram' chant even though Police had debunked the claims?

Big Liberals, small hearts: By donating 80 vials of vaccine, America has proved to be the poorest country in the world

Do you remember when Western media and their native sepoys flew drones over cremation grounds in India? They are quiet now

Recently Popular

Here is the truth about the land deal by Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra and how the allegations by likes of AAP are baseless

Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra and its head Champat Rai bought an additional piece of land for the purposes of additional construction to facilitate pilgrims who would be travelling to Ayodhya

Kamal R Khan calls Mika Singh ‘anpadh gawar sooar’ after the singer released a diss track titled ‘KRK Kutta’: Here is how the feud...

The feud between KRK and Mika Singh descends to calling each other ‘dogs’ and ‘pigs’, here how it unfolded

Nikhil Kamath disregarded Viswanathan Anand’s request to not use his name in public communication after cheating, says grandmaster’s wife

Zerodha co-founder Nikhil Kamath recently apologised for using unfair means to defeat Chess grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand

Young billionaire Nikhil Kamath’s account closed by as he admits cheating in charity game to defeat Vishwanathan Anand

Nikhil Kamath created quite the flutter recently after he apparently defeated Vishwanathan Anand in a game of chess.

Rohingyas settled all over UP with forged Aadhaar, voter IDs, fresh arrests reveal they are getting financial aid too: Report

ADG informed that the Rohingyas have settled in every assembly constituency with forged voter ID cards.

60-year-old woman gang-raped in front of her grandson: More horror stories emerge from Bengal as women speak up in SC

Women in West Bengal have moved the Supreme Court narrating the details of the horrifying gang-rapes they were subjected to in the post-poll violence by the members of ruling party.
- Advertisement -


Connect with us