Twitter Shut Down 170k Accounts Spreading Fake Chinese COVID-19 News
Muhammad Mubeen Javed
Twitter had shut down 170,000 accounts tied to the Chinese Government. These accounts were spreading deceptive information related to the ongoing pandemic and a couple of other issues.
According to Twitter:
“These accounts were spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China”. Shut down for violating its platform manipulation policies.
23,570 accounts involved in developing what is being described as the ‘Core Network’. Around 150,000 accounts involved in amplifying the messages from the core accounts.
Many users access the platform using VPNs in China. This network of 170,000 accounts was predominantly tweeting in Chinese, pushing deceptive narratives.
The Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) analyzed the accounts. The networks of accounts were operating since last January this year with peak activity in late March.
The tweets appreciated China’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Each account had tweeted 350,000 times before shut down. Every account had less than 10 followers with no information in the account bio.
Social media platforms shut down many accounts linked to Turkey and Russia. The number of accounts was far less when compared to China.
Twitter will host a conference late this summer to “bring government, industry, and experts together to discuss opportunities for further collection.”