Twitter removes Iranian-backed accounts.

Twitter has removed nearly 4,800 accounts it claimed were being employed by Iran to spread misinformation.


The accounts were deleted alongside others from several different groups as Twitter tries to tackle interference.
It revealed the deletions in an update to its transparency report that aims to reveal the “spread of misinformation by insidious actors”.
Also removed were accounts used for Russian, Catalonian and Venezuelan propaganda.


The 4,800 accounts weren’t a unified block, said Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity in a blog detailing its actions.
Mr. Roth said one fraction, 1,666 accounts, cumulatively sent over 2 million tweets that sought to spread views backing Iran’s policies and actions.


A smaller set, 248 in total, did similar work however were specifically aimed at skewing discussions about Israel.
The biggest group, 2,865, used “false personas” to steer conversations concerning social issues in Iran and elsewhere. These accounts were deleted in May.


Other accounts shut down included 130 set up by supporters of Catalonian independence, 33 run by a “commercial entity in Venezuela and 4 Russian accounts used by the infamous Internet Research Agency (IRA). The IRA is believed to possess sought to influence the 2016 U.S.A. presidential election via social media.


Mr. Roth wrote: “We believe that people and organizations with the advantages of institutional power and which consciously abuse our services aren’t advancing healthy discourse however are actively working to undermine it.”


Mr. Roth said Twitter had collected all the suspect accounts it had removed since starting its purge into a data set that it provided to researchers. Presently the data set contains over 30 million tweets and more than one terabyte of images and video.