Twitter reveals 50258 Russian-linked accounts which influenced the US Presidential election


Twitter said on Friday that the number of Russia-linked accounts firing off tweets evidently aimed at the 2016 USA election was more widespread than initially determined.

Twitter will also notify 677,775 US users about their interactions with accounts run by a Kremlin-linked troll farm called the Internet Research Agency.

"However any such activity represents a challenge to democratic societies everywhere, and we're committed to continuing to work on this important issue", the company wrote a blog post.

The company also announced that it will send email notifications to 677,775 people in the US that followed, retweeted or liked a post from the suspended accounts during the presidential campaign. Twitter said those Russian accounts posted 175,993 tweets in the 10 weeks before the November 2016 election, approximately 8.4 per cent of which were election-related.

"We have suspended all of these accounts for Terms of Service violations, primarily spam, and all but a few accounts, which were restored to legitimate users, remain suspended", Twitter said in a post.

Twitter underestimated the number of accounts spreading Russian propaganda by more than ten thousand, the company quietly disclosed late Friday. On Friday, it now says the total is 3,814.

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The company in September said it had suspended about 200 Russian-linked accounts, and it suspended advertising from Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik the following month.

More than 50,000 Russian-linked automated accounts tweeted about the presidential election.

The companies said they were taking necessary steps to rid their platforms of disinformation, propaganda, and provocation. In addition, about 3,800 (up 1,000 from Twitter's data in the fall) were associated with the now-notorious Internet Research Agency. It was created to look like it was run by the Tennessee Republican Party. Ahead of Congressional hearings in October, Twitter initially said it had found roughly 2,700 accounts affiliated with the election interference.

Twitter said it is "investing further in machine-learning capabilities that help us detect and mitigate the effect on users of fake, coordinated and automated account activity".

That includes plans to "verify major party candidates for all statewide and federal elective offices, and major national party accounts, as a hedge against impersonation".