Twitter Deletes Close To 200,000 Accounts For Misinformation
Twitter claims to have removed 174,000 accounts from its platform that were believed to be fake and run by the Chinese government to push ideas about the coronavirus, the Hong Kong protests, and other issues, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The accounts were deleted within the first three months of the year. Many of them began praising the Chinese response to pandemic in January.
Twitter has said that they removed 23,750 accounts that sent out the tweets and another 150,000 that were created to popularize messages by liking and retweeting them. Most had fewer than ten followers and were removed shortly after being created. China has denied participation in disinformation campaigns in the past. Most tweets were written in Chinese, which indicates that the postings were meant to influence Asian users rather than American.
China has increased their efforts to spread messages on social media recently. A lot of Chinese state media and government agencies have been purchasing ads on U.S. social media sites and mimicking Russian disinformation efforts during the presidential campaign. China’s state media has sought to portray America in a negative light by showing images of the U.S.’s recent police turmoil and President Trump threatening to use force against demonstrators.
Twitter has also confirmed removal of 1,152 accounts they connected to Russian propaganda and 7,340 accounts connected to Turkish propaganda. Social media platforms have drawn criticism for their handling of disinformation campaigns such as the Russian meddling in the 2016 election to aid President Trump. Sites have continued to face scrutiny as they figure out how to manage the spread of disinformation.
Twitter added warning labels to two tweets by Zhao Lijian, a Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman, who suggested that the coronavirus was created in the United States in an Army lab. They added the same labels to tweets posted by President Trump about mail-in-ballots.
Read the full report here.