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Over 50,000 Russia-linked accounts tweeted election-related content, says Twitter

Tyrone Stewart

TwitterTwitter has provided an update on the extent of Russian influence on its platform during the US presidential election period, finding an additional 13,512 accounts linked to the largest nation in the world.

According to the microblogging site, it has now identified at total of 50,258 automated accounts linked to Russia. These accounts made up approximately 0.016 per cent of the total number of Twitter accounts at the time of the election period.

“Any such activity represents a challenge to democratic societies everywhere, and we’re committed to continuing to work on this important issue,” said Twitter in a blog post.

In addition, it has discovered a further 1,062 accounts associated with Russia’s Saint Petersburg-based political warfare machine, the Internet Research Agency (IRA). This brought the total number of accounts found to be 3,814, responsible for 175,993 tweets between them – around of 8.4 per cent of which were found to be election-based.

On the back of the 2016 election, Twitter introduced its Information Quality Initiative. Since its launch, the social platform has been detecting and blocking around 523,000 suspicious logins every day. As of December 2017, Twitter’s technology was able to identify and deal with more than 6.4m suspicious accounts around the world per week.

In anticipation for the US midterm elections, Twitter says it will verify major party candidates and major national party accounts, while maintaining open lines with federal and state election officials. Furthermore, it will improve its technology and monitor trends in conversation for ‘potential manipulation activity’.

“We are committed to ensuring that Twitter is safe and secure for all users and serves to advance healthy civic discussion and engagement,” said Twitter. “Our work on these issues will never be done, and we will continue in our efforts to protect Twitter against bad actors and networks of malicious automation and manipulation.”