Twitter deletes 10,000 accounts discouraging voting in US mid-terms

Twitter has deleted more than 10,000 automated accounts posting messages discouraging people from voting in tomorrow’s US mid-term election and that wrongly appeared to be from Democrats, after the party flagged the misleading tweets to the social media company, Reuters reports. The accounts were deleted in late September and early October.

The issue was flagged to Twitter by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), a party group that supports Democrats running for the US House of Representatives. According to Reuters, the DCCC launched the effort this year in response to the party’s inability to respond to millions of accounts on Twitter and other social media platforms that spread negative and false information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and other party candidates in 2016. The DCCC has developed its own system for identifying and reporting malicious automated accounts on social media, the report says, citing “three people familiar with the operation”.

The system was built in part from publicly available tools known as “Hoaxley” and “Botometer” developed by University of Indiana computer researchers. They allow a user to identify automated accounts, also known as bots, and analyse how they spread information on specific topics.