Home International Twitter removes 130 accounts disrupting public conversation during presidential debate

Twitter removes 130 accounts disrupting public conversation during presidential debate

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Social media companies have long been under pressure to combat misinformation after US intelligence agencies determined Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 vote.

Twitter suspended hundreds of accounts associated with spreading a false claim about a communications failure during protests in Washington. File picture: Reuters/Kacper Pempel

WASHINGTON – Twitter Inc said on Wednesday it had removed 130 accounts, as they were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first US presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden.

Twitter removed the accounts, which appeared to originate in Iran, “based on intel” provided by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it said in a tweet.

The accounts had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation, the social media giant said, adding, that the accounts and their content will be published in full once the investigation is complete.

One of the tweets was worded “are You watching For Fun too?”, showing graphical representation on why voters would plan to watch the debate, according to a sample tweet shared by Twitter.

Last week, Twitter said it worked with Facebook Inc to identify and remove 350 accounts which could be used by Russia’s intelligence services to leak hacked documents as part of efforts to disrupt the upcoming US election.

Both companies said one of the networks had been identified following a tip from the FBI, which warned that foreign actors and cybercriminals were likely to spread disinformation about the results of the November 3 election.

Over the last two years, since the 2018 US midterm election, senior US intelligence officials have openly predicted that hackers associated with Russia, China, Iran and North Korea would attempt to target the 2020 US presidential election.

Social media companies have long been under pressure to combat misinformation after US intelligence agencies determined Russia used their platforms to meddle in the 2016 vote, allegations that Moscow has denied.