Twitter pulls down thousands of accounts tied to Iranian government

The company is archiving the tweets from the accounts in a public database.

Queenie Wong Former Senior Writer
Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
Expertise I've been writing about social media since 2015 but have previously covered politics, crime and education. I also have a degree in studio art. Credentials
  • 2022 Eddie award for consumer analysis
Queenie Wong

Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco.

James Martin/CNET

Twitter said Thursday it removed 4,779 accounts linked to the Iranian government and will add more data from account takedowns to a public database. That includes content from four fake accounts that Twitter removed that were tied to a Russian troll farm called the Internet Research Agency along with the takedowns of 130 accounts tied to Spain and Venezuela. 

The company released the database in October 2018, and it contains more than 30 million tweets and 1 terabyte of media.

"By making this data open and accessible, we seek to empower researchers, journalists, governments, and members of the public to deepen their understanding of critical issues impacting the integrity of public conversation online, particularly around elections," Twitter's Head of Site Integrity Yoel Roth said in a blog post.

Roth doesn't say in the post how the company determined that the thousands of accounts were tied to the Iranian government. CNET reached out to the Iranian government in an e-mail but didn't receive a response.