Twitter on Friday announced the closure of tens of thousands of Chinese, Russian and Turkish “government” accounts used for propaganda and misinformation.
Twitter strikes again. The social network announced on Friday, June 12, that it had closed more than 30,000 Chinese, Russian and Turkish “government” accounts, which were used for propaganda and disinformation purposes.
The platform said it had deactivated a “core” of 23,750 accounts linked to China and forwarded by about 150,000 other accounts serving as “amplifiers”. Twitter also closed 7,340 accounts linked to Turkey and 1,152 accounts linked to Russia.
All of these accounts have been closed, but the content has been stored in a database for scientific research, Twitter said.
Spreading “Misleading Theories of Hong Kong”
The US giant explained that the Chinese account network was discovered with the help of tools set up in August 2019, which aimed to erase accounts linked to Beijing during the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
This network published tweets, mainly in Chinese and probably intended for diaspora, “disseminating geopolitical theories that are favorable to the Chinese Communist Party, while supporting deceptive theories of political dynamics in Hong Kong,” Twitter explained in a note of analysis.
These thousands of accounts have also served to promote Beijing’s views on the fight against coronavirus, since anti-racist protests in the United States, said the Australian think tank ASPI, which analyzed the flow of tweets.
“While the Chinese Communist Party does not allow the Chinese people to use Twitter, our analysis shows that it does not hesitate to use it to spread propaganda and misinformation internationally,” said one of ASPI officials, Fergus Hanson, in his analysis report.
Promotion of Presidents Erdogan and Poutine
As for the Turkish accounts network, which was discovered in early 2020, it was mainly about promoting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling party, according to Twitter. The Russian accounts were also used to promote the ruling party and to attack its critics.