Twitter suspends thousands of accounts for pro-terrorism and violence contents
A man holding a cellphone in front of a twitter logo in Ankara, Turkey on March 16, 2017. Gokhan Balci—Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Twitter Found 201 Accounts Linked to Russian Agents Who Bought Facebook Ads

Sep 28, 2017

Twitter has found 201 accounts that were tied to the Russian-linked sources that purchased thousands of ads on Facebook during the 2016 presidential election, the company said on Thursday.

The social media platform also found that Russian news site RT, which has close ties to the Kremlin, spent $274,000 on U.S. ads in 2016.

Twitter executives told Congressional investigators about the findings on Thursday and posted details in a blog on the company’s website.

The news follows similar disclosures from Facebook earlier this month, and Twitter’s meeting in Washington comes as Congress is pursuing its investigation into how Russians may have used social media platforms to interfere in the 2016 election cycle. The company said its Vice President for Public Policy Colin Crowell met with the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Thursday.

When Facebook found that about 470 accounts with Russian ties purchased advertisements, Twitter checked its own users and found that 22 Twitter accounts matched those. Those accounts had ties to 179 other Twitter handles. Twitter suspended all accounts it found in violation of its rules, the company said.

The Russian-linked accounts were not registered as advertisers, Twitter said, but it promised to continue investigating the situation. The company outlined ways it plans to continue fighting bots on its site, and said its current systems catch more than 3.2 million suspicious accounts around the world each week.

Social media companies like Twitter and Facebook have faced increased scrutiny around how they handle bots and the potential that their platforms were used to sow disruption during 2016. Many have said these companies have taken a lax approach to dealing with spam and abuse on their platforms.

After Twitter’s meeting with Congressional officials on Thursday, Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, told reporters he was “disappointed” by the briefing Twitter provided.

“Their response was, frankly, inadequate on almost every level,” Warner said, according to Reuters.

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