Oct 17, 2018 - Technology

Twitter releases content tied to misinformation campaigns

A Twitter logo bird in white on blue background, with an open laptop in front.

Photo: Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Twitter is releasing all the content associated with 4,611 accounts it has tied to two previously announced misinformation campaigns by Russia and Iran — 3,814 accounts linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency, which meddled in the 2016 elections, and 770 that were linked to state-backed activity from Iran.

Why it matters: Twitter says the release is part of an effort to be more transparent about the "information operations" it identifies on the platform and opens up those operations to researchers aiming to understand meddling in U.S. politics.

  • By the numbers: The content released today includes more than 10 million tweets, more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts.
  • Timing: The earliest Twitter-based activity from the accounts associated with these campaigns dates to 2009.

The big picture: Social media was the primary way Russia leveraged its political influence campaign in the buildup to the 2016 presidential election in the U.S., and the Department of Homeland Security has been pointing to foreign campaigns on social media as a concern for months.

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