Twitter Removes Turkey, Russia, and China “State-Linked” Accounts From The Website

Twitter Removes Turkey, Russia, and China “State-Linked” Accounts From The Website


  • Twitter removed tens of thousands of accounts which were state-linked
  • Mainly the US based micro blogging website removed accounts from China, Russia and Turkey

On Friday, Twitter, the US based micro-blogging website, removed tens of thousands of “state-linked” accounts which were used by China, Russia and Turkey to push their personal propaganda, plant misinformation and even attack critics.

The biggest network which was uncovered was linked to China, Twitter said, comprised of “highly engaged core” of 23,750 accounts which were being boosted by 1,50,000 “amplifier” accounts on the micro-blogging website.

The Turkish network was made up of 7,340 accounts while the Russian was made of 1,152 accounts.

All the accounts along with the content have been removed from the website but not deleted. It has been placed on an archive database which can be utilised for the researchers.

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Twitter has said that the Chinese network was detected with the help of systems which the company earlier used to delete state-linked accounts in August last year at the height of huge and often violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong

The current network “failed to achieve considerable traction” but was “involved in a range of manipulative and coordinated activities.”

In its analysis, Twitter wrote, “They were tweeting predominantly in Chinese languages and spreading geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China, while continuing to push deceptive narratives about the political dynamics in Hong Kong,”.

A Canberra based think-tank by the name of Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) analysed the datasheet ahead of the announcement and said that the network mainly looked to sway the views within the global Chinese population.

“As well as pushing Beijing’s narrative on the Hong Kong protests, the network did the same for the coronavirus pandemic and criticising Taiwan.”

Some of the groups also “pivoted” to the US Government’s response to simmering racial injustice protests in order to “create the perception of moral equivalence with the suppression of protest in Hong Kong,” said ASPI.

Director of ASPI’s Cyber Centre, Fergus Hanson wrote, “While the Chinese Communist Party won’t allow the Chinese people to use Twitter, our analysis shows it is happy to use it to sow propaganda and disinformation internationally,”.

Twitter, along with other platforms Google, Facebook and YouTube are banned in China, which uses a “Great Firewall” to clean its internet and censor the negative content.

Since the past few years, Beijing has been pushing to be more visible on such companies with state-media and ambassadors which embrace platforms which the general population of China cannot access.

In its analysis, Twitter said that the Turkish network was detected in early 2020 and was aimed at boosting the domestic support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party in the country. The Russian accounts were involved in “cross-posting and amplifying content in an inauthentic, coordinated manner for political ends” which also included the promotion of ruling United Russia and attacking the political protestors.

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