Twitter Publicly Shames Russian Troll Accounts: Publishes 10 Million Tweets

ATLANTIC COUNCIL  TWITTER

Data journalists and researchers will now get a chance to search through millions of tweets linked with operatives in Russian Federation and Iran.

"They include more than 10 million Tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts, including the earliest on-Twitter activity from accounts connected with these campaigns, dating back to 2009", the company said in the post.

Nimmo pointed to the blast of social media activity after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine, which global investigators blamed on Russian Federation.

Tech companies have come under pressure in the past year from lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe to do more to rein in such activity, after intelligence services concluded that Russian Federation spread disinformation across their platforms to influence the 2016 United States presidential election and the UK's Brexit vote.

It is evident that Twitter's entire team can not possibly curate all the accounts and tweets, considering, many tweets get left out when users do not report them.

The archive is largely made up of tweets from 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Internet Research Agency, a notorious "troll farm" based in Russian Federation that the USA believes tried to influence the 2016 presidential election.

ATLANTIC COUNCIL  TWITTER
ATLANTIC COUNCIL TWITTER

Twitter added that the goal of the release was to make the data available for researchers and academics for investigation.

"The Russian operation was much more skilled".

"The IRA and the Iranian operation covered in Twitter's data today are only the tip of the iceberg for foreign manipulation of social media", said Francois. The army of fake accounts Tweeted out 1,102 posts with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU.

Twitter said it doesn't expect such information operations to stop and expects bad actors to continue to adapt to new technologies.

Experts say the tweet archive shows that both the Iranian and Russian operations started out as campaigns to support their governments at home. "It tried to use social media to draw people towards pro-regime messaging sites", said Nimmo.

The BBC understands Twitter's figure included only original messages and not retweets, which the social network believes accounts for the disparity.

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