Twitter Emails 677775 US Users About Russian Election Interference
If you received an email from Twitter about Russian influence campaigns during the 2016 U.S. election, you’re not alone.The microblogging service is contacting 677,775 users who followed, retweeted, or liked a post from a Russian government-linked organization preceding the vote.Following a congressional hearing in the fall, Twitter identified and suspended a number of accounts potentially connected to a propaganda effort by the Internet Research Agency (IRA).Known in Russian Internet slang as the “Trolls from Olgino,” the St. Petersburg-based group run fake accounts on major social networks, discussion boards, online newspapers, and video hosting services. More than 1,000 bloggers are paid to promote the Kremlin’s interests in domestic and foreign policy; in 2016, they attempted to influence the presidential election.As of Friday, Twitter counted 3,814 IRA-linked accounts that generated 175,993 posts—only 8.4 percent of which were “election-related”—in the ten weeks leading to the vote.An even larger batch of automated activity “originating out of Russia” includes 13,512 additional accounts, for a total of 50,258 automated accounts identified as “Russian-linked and Tweeting election-related content.”“Any such activity represents a challenge to democratic societies everywhere, and we’re committed to continuing to work on this important issue,” according to a lengthy blog post.Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)—one of the 677,775 who received a message from Twitter—recently shared part of the email via a mobile screenshot.(via Sen. John Cornyn/Twitter)“Finally social media is waking up to manipulation of public opinion by our adversaries,” Cornyn tweeted. “All of us need to step up to meet this challenge, especially the press.”Twitter is taking great strides toward developing strategies to prevent illegitimate users. Already making “significant improvements,” the company claims that, on a daily basis, it detects and blocks some 523,000 suspicious logins generated through automation.The company laid out plans for 2018, including investing in more technology and partnering with media literacy groups. And, in the lead up to this year’s midterm elections, Twitter is working to verify major party candidates, improve anti-spam programs, and monitor trends and spikes in conversations “for potential manipulation activity.”“We are committed to ensuring that Twitter is safe and secure for all users and serves to advance healthy civic discussion and engagement,” the company blog said. “Our work on these issues will never be done, and we will continue in our efforts to protect Twitter against bad actors and networks of malicious automation and manipulation.”View as: One Page Slides1. Examples of IRA content on Twitter(via Internet Research Agency/Twitter)2. Examples of IRA content on Twitter(via Internet Research Agency/Twitter)3. Examples of IRA content on Twitter(via Internet Research Agency/Twitter)4. Examples of IRA content on Twitter(via Internet Research Agency/Twitter)5. Examples of IRA content on Twitter(via Internet Research Agency/Twitter) Stay on target Twitter Tests Subscribe-to-Replies FeatureSenator Wants to Ban ‘Addictive’ Social Media Functions Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.