Twitter Notifying Users Who Were Exposed to Propaganda from Russians

Check your email to see if you got duped by a Russian Twitter bot during the 2016 election

The surge in online activity in support of the conservative Republican cause came as Twitter announced it has identified and shut down an additional 1,062 accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency, a St. Petersburg entity often described as a "troll farm" connected with the Kremlin.

Twitter has suspended 1,062 accounts that were allegedly linked to the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency (IRA) and shared information meant to meddle with the 2016 United States presidential election.

Twitter has been criticized for reacting slowly to the proliferation of disinformation and bad-faith accounts on the service: @TEN_GOP, an influential troll account that amassed a large following on the service by bolstering pro-Trump messages and misinformation, was reportedly the subject of impersonation complaints by the actual Republican Party of Tennessee for almost a year before the company closed it last August, for example.

The company added that the relevant content, however, is no longer available because the account were already suspended.

The top Democrat from the intelligence committee in the U.S. House praised on Friday the move taken by Twitter and urged other technology companies to continue investigating abuse on their own platforms by the Russians during the country's 2016 elections.

Twitter has also revised up the total number of Russia-linked accounts it uncovered since its testimony to Congress in the fall.

The company has also shared some examples of content that received significant engagement. The propaganda work was linked to an organization linked to the Russian government called "Internet Research Agency".

It's possible that the Russian-affiliated accounts simply "hopped on it, promoted it, amplified it", taking their cues from the Republican leaders, Schafer said.

In the 10 week period before the 2016 election, a total of 3,814 IRA-linked accounts posted 175,993 tweets.

Twitter also included a selection of imagery tweeted by the allegedly Kremlin-controlled Twitter feeds in its post. If simple spammers can create and promote bots by the tens of thousands, Russian intelligence could easily have brought more to bear here.

Twitter said it is "investing further in machine-learning capabilities that help us detect and mitigate the effect on users of fake, coordinated and automated account activity".

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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