Twitter has identified an additional 1,062 accounts associated with the Russia-backed Internet Research Agency (IRA) accused of interfering with the 2016 US presidential election. This brings IRA-linked accounts to a total of 3,814 that posted 175,993 tweets, approximately 8.4 percent of which were election-related, the micro-blogging platform said in a blog post.
“We are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the US who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period,” Twitter said, adding that it has already suspended these accounts. Twitter has told a US Senate committee that the micro-blogging platform is working towards alerting its users who may have seen Kremlin-linked advertisements during the 2016 election.
Appearing before the US Commerce, Science and Technology Committee this week, Carlos Monje, Twitter’s Director of US Public Policy, said Twitter would ‘inform individually’ everyone who saw tweets from accounts linked to IRA. Monje, along with officials from Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, testified before the committee about how Twitter is combating terror-related content on its platform.
“We have also provided Congress with the results of our supplemental analysis into activity believed to be automated, election-related activity originating out of Russia during the election period,” Twitter said.
Through its supplemental analysis, Twitter has also identified 13,512 additional accounts, for a total of 50,258 automated accounts that it identified as Russian-linked and tweeting election-related content during the election period. “With our current capabilities, we detect and block approximately 523,000 suspicious logins daily for being generated through automation,” Twitter posted.
In December 2017, its systems identified and challenged more than 6.4 million suspicious accounts globally per week — a 60 percent increase in its detection rate from October 2017. “We have developed new techniques for identifying malicious automation (such as near-instantaneous replies to tweets, non-random Tweet timing, and coordinated engagement),” the company said.
Since June 2017, Twitter has removed more than 220,000 applications in violation of its rules, collectively responsible for more than 2.2 billion low-quality tweets. In 2018, Twitter aims to invest further in machine-learning capabilities that help it detect and mitigate the effect on users of fake, coordinated, and automated account activity.