Twitter airs election meddling data

Twitter

Twitter has published details of more than ten million tweets from thousands of Russian and Iranian trolls, revealing new insights into the extent of both countries' meddling in British and United States affairs.

Twitter releases 295 gigabytes of Russian troll tweets along with data on accounts from Iran targeting Americans.

Elections 2018: Is misinformation killing democracy?

Twitter has already disclosed the account numbers, but is now releasing the actual tweets, images, video and other information.

Twitter said it will "continue to proactively combat nefarious attempts" to undermine the integrity of its network. In the months that followed his victory, reports emerged that teams of dedicated operatives in Russian Federation and Iran worked to stir up hatred and division on the social media platform to encourage a Trump victory.

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On the day of the Brexit vote, they tweeted posts with the hashtag ReasonsToLeaveEU more than 1,000 times.

On 23 June 2016, the day of the European Union referendum, Russian Federation mobilised its army of trolls, which at one stage included 3,800 accounts.

A preliminary look at the data by Ars Technica revealed that a common tactic used by the IRA was to create "local news" accounts for major U.S. cities, seeding them with posts linking to local news outlets. Often, these accounts served to amplify state-run media, retweeting their content and linking back to Iranian news stories, DFR Lab found.

The Twitter spread information about the archive of several thousand accounts that may be involved in the intervention in the American elections. At one point in August, the account tweeted in support of an unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate in MI whose family has roots in Egypt. Others sought to "blend into US anti-Trump communities", Atlantic Council found.

But the group praised Twitter for providing and releasing the cache of Iranian and Russian tweets and other content, which researchers can now further scrape for insight. "The Russian troll farm posted significantly more in Russian than in English, especially in late 2014 until early 2015, when Russia was fighting an undeclared war in Ukraine and facing anti-corruption demonstrations at home", DFRLab senior fellow Ben Nimmo said.

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