20,000 Fake Twitter Accounts linked to Serbian, Egyptians and Saudi’s Deleted

It looks like Twitter is also on a cleaning mission and wants to remove all the viruses that can be a threat to the community. Well, by removing viruses, I don’t mean Coronavirus! I mean all those fake accounts that are backed by state and work as information operations. Yes! You heard it right. Twitter has deleted more than 20,000 fake accounts. 

These accounts were considered linked to Serbian, Saudi Arabian, Egyptian, Hondurasian and Indonesian Government and were considered passing misleading information and undermining public information. Yoel Ruth who is the head of site integrity tweeted on 2nd April that, “Our work to detect and investigate state-backed information operations is always ongoing. Today, we’re sharing comprehensive data on 5 campaigns associated with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Indonesia, and Honduras.”

There were around 8558 accounts that were linked to AleksandarVučić, the president of Serbian Progressive party (SNS). These accounts were purposely created to tweet positive things of the Vučić Government, clean his image and malign the opposition. There were more than 43m tweets from these accounts. Another 5350 accounts were deleted that were from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and United Arab Emirates. These accounts collectively tweeted 36.5m tweets targeting Qatar and Turkish activity in Yemen. 

The action was taken when Internet Stanford Observatory gave a tip, “Prominent narratives included discrediting recent Libyan peace talks, criticizing the Syrian government, criticizing Iranian influence in Iraq, praising the Mauritanian government, and criticism of Houthi rebels in Yemen.” Similarly, 2541 accounts related to El Fagr newspaper, and 3000 accounts were traced working for Honduran president, Juan Orlando Hernández.

The Observatory stated that, “Much of the tweet behavior seems targeted at drowning out negative news about the Honduran president by promoting presidential initiatives and heavily retweeting the president and news outlets favorable to his administration.“ Another 795 Indonesian accounts were deleted when an investigative journalist working at Bellingcat reported that the accounts were targeting the West Papuan independence movement.

In defense to their actions Twitter clearly stated that the accounts violated their policies and Transparency is their fundamental principal. It is indeed a strong stand by the company and we hope that it does reduce the misinformation spread by social media. Especially in the current scenario of Coronavirus outbreak, it is essential that only relevant and correct information is circulated via social media. 

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