Twitter suspends 1,600 accounts linked to state disinformation networks

It blocked accounts allegedly run by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Thailand.


Twitter has permanently suspended another 1,589 state-linked accounts that violated its platform manipulation policies. It says they’re connected to state information operations carried out by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Thailand. Twitter has added details on those accounts, along with five Russia-linked accounts it shut down in September, to its state-linked information operations archive.

The company wrote in a blog post that accounts operated in Iran “artificially amplified conversations on politically sensitive topics.” Those included racial and social justice issues in the US, such as Black Lives Matter and the killing of George Floyd. Many of the accounts were compromised, and Twitter returned most of them to their original owners. It suspended 104 other accounts linked to the campaign.

Twitter banned 33 accounts linked to the Saudi Arabia government. “These accounts were created to impersonate key Qatari political figures and to advance narratives about Qatari politics which are geostrategically favorable to the Saudi authorities,” it wrote.

The company also shut down 526 “fake accounts” it says were operated by youth groups connected to the Cuban government. It permanently suspended 926 accounts allegedly run by the Royal Thai Army (RTA) as well. Those were “amplifying pro-RTA and pro-government content, as well as engaging in behavior targeting prominent political opposition figures.” As for the Russian accounts, Twitter linked those to trolls behind a fake news site.

Back in June, Twitter said it had removed around 178,000 accounts linked to China, Russia and Turkey. It added details on 32,242 of those to its archive.