Twitter Releases Details of Russian and Iranian Trolling

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2018

Data journalists and researchers will now get a chance to search through millions of tweets linked with operatives in Russian Federation and Iran.

Twitter published a trove of some 10 million tweets that it said were linked to state-backed operations by Russian Federation and Iran, shedding new light on the scale of misinformation campaigns mounted by the two nations, apparently created to influence voters and sow dissension in the United States and elsewhere.

The company also released data on accounts from Iran that also targeted Americans.

According to federal investigators, the troll farm created fake Twitter accounts pretending to be US-based groups or activists, and then published tweets meant to secretly spread propaganda and misinformation to the American public.

The trove of data revealed numerous instances when Russian troll accounts tweeted on both sides of divisive debates in the US After shootings in San Bernardino in 2015, one post wrote, "mass shootings won't stop until there are #GunFreeZones #Prayers4California".

Twitter accounts originating in Iran masqueraded as foreign journalists and concerned USA citizens to push political messages on the social media site until they were suspended earlier this year, according to new research published Wednesday.

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The company said the release followed up on its commitment to Congress earlier this year to give regular updates and information related to its investigation into foreign influence campaigns on the platform. It found another 770 Twitter accounts that it traced back to Iran.

"Particularly in the Russian dataset a lot more of the content was in Russian than in English", said Nimmo.

"It is clear that information operations and coordinated inauthentic behavior will not cease", Twitter said.

In accordance with the management of Twitter, with these CANTV spread out over 10 million messages and more than 2 million pictures, "gtk" and videos.

However, it added: "For our part, we are committed to understanding how bad-faith actors use our services". But this is the first time the public and independent researchers have been given access to what data analyst Ben Nimmo described as the full "motherlode" of information.

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