Twitter says it has found 201 Russia-linked accounts

Following Facebook's own disclosure, Twitter says that it has identified more than 200 accounts on its service that are linked to Russia. Using the approximately 450 accounts that Facebook shared as part of its own review, Twitter says it found 201 corresponding accounts on its own service. It has also been transparent about advertisements purchased by the Russian publication Russia Today (RT).

This matter started weeks ago when Facebook revealed that it had found Russian-linked accounts that had purchased ads on the social network during the election. Now Twitter has released a statement saying that out of Facebook's 450 or so identified accounts, Twitter found 22 accounts on its own service linked to those.

Those 22 accounts had already been suspended for violations, while the others were immediately suspended, Twitter said. The remaining 179 accounts — described as "related or linked" to the 22 accounts — were evaluated and some were suspended for violating the service's rules. None of these accounts were registered to serve ads on Twitter, however.

The company also focused on three Twitter accounts belonging to the publication Russia Today, more commonly called 'RT.' The publication is strongly linked to the Russian government, and Twitter says that three of its accounts bought US-targeted advertisements during the 2016 election year. At this point in its review, Twitter says:

Based on our findings thus far, RT spent $274,100 in U.S. ads in 2016. In that year, the @RT_com, @RT_America, and @ActualidadRT accounts promoted 1,823 Tweets that definitely or potentially targeted the U.S. market. These campaigns were directed at followers of mainstream media and primarily promoted RT Tweets regarding news stories.

In addition, Twitter says that post-Soviet states and Russia have long been responsible for the majority of spammy and automated content on its platform. The company has automated systems in place to try to catch this kind of content, and it takes down in excess of 3.2 million of these accounts across the world every week. However, Twitter says that it is planning to roll out several changes to the ways it detects suspicious and otherwise spam-ish activity on the service.

SOURCE: Twitter Blog