Twitter purges thousands of ‘state-linked’ accounts
Twitter has announced their latest round of axed accounts, targeting thousands of users accused of promoting government agendas in countries such as China, Russia, and Venezuela.
Thursday’s ban affects 3,465 accounts, the most so far under the social media company’s push to remove users that spread “state-backed information.”
Twitter said that it “attributed” the accounts that were given the boot to “operations” running for the sake of governments in Mexico, China, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Venezuela.
Among the removed is “a network of accounts that amplified Chinese Communist Party narratives related to the treatment of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang,” as well as 12 accounts “connected to ‘Changyu Culture,’ a private company backed by the Xinjiang regional government.”
Twitter claims the accounts all ran “information campaigns” in support of the government in Beijing, with some targeting high-profile US citizens such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who were critical of China.
“Pompeo, take care of yourself we are living a very good life #StopXinjiangRumors,” a number of tweets shared by Twitter said.
As for Russia, the platform claimed to have removed 16 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), which the US government accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The accounts were faulted for attempting “an information operation in the Central African Republic” with a supposed goal to “introduce a pro-Russia viewpoint” in the discussion of political events in the region. Another 50 accounts were removed for “voicing significant support for Russia’s geopolitical position in Libya and Syria” and “attacking” one of the rival Libyan governments and its supporters, Twitter said.
The new crackdown comes just days after founder Jack Dorsey stepped down as CEO and was replaced by Parag Agrawal.
The company has also been facing scrutiny over their new policy on the “misuse of private media,” claiming photos and videos of individuals shared without their permission violates their personal information policy. The broad rule has been blasted by critics as the latest sign of censorship from the controversial platform.