Twitter Notifies 677k Users of Russian Election Propaganda

Twitter Notifies 677k Users of Russian Election Propaganda

The company has detected 3,814 accounts connected to the Internet Research Agency - the troll farm with ties to the Russian government - totaling close to 176,000 tweets.

Wikileaks, which published leaked Democratic Party documents during the 2016 US presidential campaign that were allegedly hacked by Russian intelligence, on January 19 joined the outpouring of support emanating out of Russia for the Republican #releasethememo campaign, offering a reward of up to $1 million for anyone who gives it the memo.

The company also disclosed that they've found 50,258 additional automated accounts they've identified as "Russian-linked" that were tweeting "election-related content" during the election period.

The social media company said it's emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the US who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a tweet from these accounts during the election period, according to a blog post Friday.

The blog post shared some examples of the tweets that may have found their way into some users' feeds during that time.

Twitter noted, however, that it won't show users the content they saw, saying that because it has "already suspended these accounts, the relevant content on Twitter is no longer publicly available".

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Some U.S. lawmakers have been urging social media firms, including Twitter and Facebook, to alert their users if they were potentially exposed to Russian propaganda.

Last October, Twitter had revealed about finding 2,752 IRA-linked accounts.

"We have also provided Congress with the results of our supplemental analysis into activity believed to be automated, election-related activity originating out of Russian Federation during the election period", Twitter said. A group that tracks Russian-linked social media influence campaigns says the volume of Russian-related #ReleaseTheMemo traffic represents the most coordinated such effort since their website launched in early August. The nation was found to have used major social media platforms, namely Facebook and Twitter, in an effort to manipulate the public, destabilize the nation's population, stir up tensions, and more.

Albright said during a recent study he identified 3,746 tweets he said were from IRA-linked accounts that were still live on the service. If simple spammers can create and promote bots by the tens of thousands, Russian intelligence could easily have brought more to bear here. Much of the content was focused on making these accounts look like a real life person was tweeting on the platform.

Specifically, the company is working on verifying all candidates, escalating issues of impersonation or hijacking, and monitoring election-related conversations closely for evidence of manipulation or bot participation.

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