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Twitter bans thousands of state-backed accounts spreading misinformation

And Facebook took down 100 accounts with ties to Spain's Partido Popular.
Christine Fisher, @cfisherwrites
September 20, 2019
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Twitter has suspended thousands of accounts linked with state-backed misinformation campaigns. In a transparency report shared today, Twitter says it removed 4,248 accounts from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), 273 accounts from the UAE and Egypt, 1,019 accounts based in Ecuador, 265 accounts from Spain and six accounts from Saudi Arabia. It also released more data on 4,301 of the 200,000 accounts from China and Hong Kong that were suspended for stoking unrest around the Hong Kong protests.

This is part of Twitter's ongoing effort to sweep state-backed misinformation accounts from the platform. In June, Twitter removed nearly 4,800 accounts with ties to the Iranian government, and in August it banned nearly 1,000 accounts managed by the Chinese state and aimed at Hong Kong protests. In addition to targeting state-backed misinformation, Twitter recently updated its policy to ban advertising from state-controlled news outlets, even when it isn't misinformation per se.

Facebook also removed accounts linked with misinformation in Spain. The accounts removed by both platforms were linked with Spain's People's Party, Partido Popular. As the Financial Times points out, it's one of the few occasions in which social media platforms have linked a major political party in western Europe with coordinated disinformation campaigns.

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