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Politics

Twitter removes thousands of fake, state-backed accounts

They were all part of operations to sway the public in their respective countries.

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Twitter is cracking down on more accounts participating in state-backed operations to mislead residents.

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter removed several thousands accounts it says were part of state-backed information campaigns that violated its platform manipulation policies. The accounts originated from countries across the globe including Egpyt, Saudia Arabia, Spain, China, United Arab Emirates and Ecuador.  

The social media platform on Friday disclosed its latest batch of accounts that have been permanently suspended. Twitter says they were part of operations targeting other neighboring countries, presenting fake stories to reflect a better image of their respective states or disrupt protests. 

Twitter removed 4.301 Chinese accounts it found to be the most active in "sowing discord" during the recent Hong Kong protests. The social media company found 4.248 accounts from the United Arab Emirates that were directing tweets about the Yemeni Civil War and the Houthi movement to Qatar and Yemen.  It also deleted 273 accounts linked to private tech company DotDev, which were tweeting fake support of the Saudi government. 

Twitter's fight against misinformation campaigns started in 2018 when it deleted more than a million fake accounts. Some 10,000 accounts that discouraged voting were removed last year before the midterm elections. This past May, Twitter also removed 2,800 accounts with ties to Iran

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