Last week Twitter and Facebook announced that several accounts on its respective platforms had been removed for what they termed as “coordinated manipulation”. More specifically Twitter had removed an estimated 284 accounts, all of which either originated from Iran or had ties to the country.
They did not stop there though, with the social media platform recently confirming that a further 486 accounts had been purged for the same reason, bringing the total to 770.
What makes this most recent batch of removals interesting is the fact that they discovered that roughly 100 of the 486 accounts claimed to be residing within the United States.
This could therefore mean that the coordinating manipulators are trying to cover their origins with stealthier tactics.
Along with noting the number of US-based accounts, they also found that they had tweeted a total of 867 times and had 1 268 followers between them, with the company characterising their content as “divisive”.
Twitter also shared a few screenshots from the removed accounts, showcasing the kinds of content they used to try to influence others on the platform, so users should be wary of any account that looks like the below.
Fewer than 100 of the 770 suspended accounts claimed to be located in the U.S. and many of these were sharing divisive social commentary. On average, these 100 Tweeted 867 times, were followed by 1, 268 accounts, and were less than a year old. Examples below. pic.twitter.com/LQhbvFjxSo
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 27, 2018
With the 2018 congressional elections set to be the next battleground for influence campaigns and state-sponsored hacking, it’s clear that the likes of Twitter and other social media platforms are trying to stem the tide.
Whether they are successful remains to be seen.