Twitter Bans 3,465 State-Affiliated Accounts

Twitter has removed several thousand accounts that it links to governments that use the platform for, among other things, misinformation, manipulation of public opinion or strengthening the communication of certain actors.

 

The 3,465 accounts are linked to Mexico, China, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda and Venezuela, though they don’t necessarily focus on their own country. For Venezuela, for example, 277 accounts gave more weight to specific users, tweets or hashtags, in this case in support of the government.

China
Most of the banned accounts, more than 2,000, are linked to China. Among other things, to disseminate and give more attention to the party guidelines on the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang. According to human rights organizations, this population group is strongly oppressed and discriminated against, with people also detained in penal camps.

Russia
But it is not always about their territory. Twitter also noted 16 accounts of Russian origin spreading disinformation targeting the Central African Republic. False and genuine accounts have also been discovered to introduce pro-Russian views. Another 50 accounts are said to focus primarily on the Libyan government, with significant support for Russia’s position in Libya and Syria, Twitter says.

It is again about accounts to support the incumbent president and his party from Uganda. In Tanzania, these accounts attack human rights organization FichuaTanzania and its founder. In Mexico, it is mainly about civic issues and encouraging government initiatives.

It is not the first time that Twitter accounts have been deleted on a large scale. But the phenomenon keeps popping up in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it concerns accounts that spread fake news or accounts that give more attention or help spread other accounts (for example, politicians). But accounts also harass other users by responding to their tweets with insults, fake news or other content to draw attention away from the message.

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