Twitter removes 30,000 accounts linked to Russia, China and Turkey

Fake and compromised accounts have been permanently taken down.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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The accounts violated Twitter's platform manipulation policy. 

Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter has permanently removed 32,242 accounts that were found to be state-backed operations from China, Russia and Turkey. The accounts were suspended for violating the social media company's platform manipulation policy. It's publishing the accounts to its archive of foreign influence campaigns, Twitter said in a blog post published Thursday.

Of those accounts, Twitter said 23,750 were linked with being part of a "core network" under a campaign by the People's Republic of China. Twitter also found another 150,000 "amplifier" accounts that were designed to boost numbers on the core accounts, but decided not to remove them due to most having "little to no follower counts."

"This entire network was involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities," Twitter Safety said in a blog post. "They were ... continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong."

Around 1,100 accounts were linked with a campaign by Russia and to a state-backed website that spreads political propaganda, Twitter said. "Activities included promoting the United Russia party and attacking political dissidents," the blog post detailed.

The Turkey-linked accounts numbered 7,340 and were a "collection of fake and compromised accounts ... being used to amplify political narratives favorable to the AK Parti, and demonstrated strong support for President Erdogan," according to Twitter. They were also being used to spread cryptocurrency-related spam.