by Nolan Leahy

Twitter announced that they have suspended accounts for having links to the Russian government Thursday. The accounts in question also violated Twitter’s rules and prohibitions against spam.

According to the announcement, the Russian governmental affiliated group known as Russia Today (RT) spent roughly $274,000 in advertising in the U.S. that aimed at the country’s market.

“Russia and other post-Soviet states have been a primary source of automated and spammy content on Twitter for many years. Content that violates our rules with respect to automated accounts and spam can have a highly negative effect on user experience…,” Twitter said, “On average, our automated systems catch more than 3.2 million suspicious accounts globally per week – more than double the amount we detected this time last year.”

According to an article from 2010 from Julia Ioffe, a writer from the Columbia Journalism Review that currently works for The Atlantic, RT is a source of journalism that centralizes itself with the English language to help Russia’s image abroad. The article also says that RT has been criticized for bringing in alternative points of view such as CIA practices involving “testing dangerous drugs on unwitting civilians.”

Despite the suspicious Twitter accounts being traced back to the publication, RT hasn’t changed their practices of creating content.

Twitter reemphasized their efforts of extracting the spammers, bots, and misinformation. Despite these efforts Twitter stated, “With hundreds of millions of Tweets globally every day, scaling these efforts continues to be a challenge.”

In Twitter’s ending statement, they forecasted changes in the way they will respond to suspicious activity as a result of various new enforcement policies.


Sources: Twitter, Columbia Journalism Review, The Verge

Image: The Nation

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