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Eddie Goldman is the host and producer of the No Holds Barred international podcast, the publisher of the No Holds Barred blog, and a senior contributing editor at the ADCC News.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Twitter and the Fight Against Russian Trolls (with update) 


by Eddie Goldman

Friday evening, never the best time to contact someone, I got an official email from Twitter noting that I had been following an account linked to the notorious "Internet Research Agency", the troll factory linked to the criminal Putin regime. Most likely this referred to the "Black Fist" scam account, Russia's failed COINTELPRO operation against the Black community in America, about which I have written, talked, and discussed many times recently. Twitter took action against these fake accounts, explaining:


"As previously announced, we identified and suspended a number of accounts that were potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

"Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period. Because we have already suspended these accounts, the relevant content on Twitter is no longer publicly available....

"We have identified an additional 1,062 accounts associated with the IRA. We have suspended all of these accounts for Terms of Service violations, primarily spam, and all but a few accounts, which were restored to legitimate users, remain suspended. At the request of congressional investigators, we are also sharing those account handles with Congress. In total, during the time period we investigated, the 3,814 identified IRA-linked accounts posted 175,993 Tweets, approximately 8.4% of which were election-related."


The fight against all those who try to sabotage freedom of expression, be they in Washington, Moscow, or anywhere else, must continue and be stepped up.

The full post by Twitter can be read at: https://blog.twitter.com/official/en_us/topics/company/2018/2016-election-update.html.

Update:

It ain't over till it's over. From the Washington Post:

As the effort lead by some Republicans to curtail special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the election meddling has heated up, Russian-linked accounts helped amplify a Twitter hashtag calling for the release of a memo the group hopes will help discredit Mueller's work, according to Hamilton 68, a research firm that tracks the malicious accounts. The #releasethememo hashtag was tweeted by these accounts nearly 4,000 times in the last couple of days, the firm said....

Jonathan Albright, research director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, who studies the effects of the disinformation campaign on social media, said that some of the memes and misinformation spread by these fake accounts live on the site, after being reposted by other less-prominent accounts, in contradiction of Twitter’s assertion that all the content had been removed.

“That is patently false. The way these accounts posts have circulated and then spread back into Twitter means they’re still around,” he said. “The fact that there are thousands of posts that are easily findable is concerning.”

Albright said during a recent study he identified 3,746 tweets he said were from IRA-linked accounts that were still live on the service.

http://wapo.st/2mTaH8Y

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