Sep 28, 2017

Twitter details Russian-linked activity during election

Richard Drew / AP

The Kremlin's principal international propaganda outlet RT (formerly Russia Today), spent $274,100 in U.S. ads in 2016, with related accounts promoting 1,823 tweets that "definitely or potentially targeted the U.S. market," Twitter said today in a lengthy blog post. The post came after a meeting with Senate Intelligence Committee leaders about how Russian actors used the platform to influence media coverage of the 2016 election. The campaigns were directed at followers of mainstream media outlets.

Why it matters: Twitter users played a major role in the dissemination of fake news stories and other misinformation during the 2016 election, an Oxford study found, and lawmakers are frustrated that Russian actors used major U.S. tech platforms to attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election. Facebook has already handed over ads that it discovered were purchased by Russian actors, and now Twitter is having to disclose the extent to which Russia-linked accounts used the platform.

Twitter's findings:

  • Of the roughly 450 accounts that Facebook recently shared as part of its review, Twitter concluded that 22 had corresponding accounts on Twitter. All of those accounts have been suspended from Twitter for breaking the rules against spam.
  • Twitter found an additional 179 related or linked accounts, and took action on the ones violating rules.
  • On average, Twitter's automated systems catch more than 3.2 million suspicious accounts globally per week — more than double the amount it detected this time last year. It catches more about 450,000 suspicious logins per day.

Twitter also said that, during the 2016 election, it "removed Tweets that were attempting to suppress or otherwise interfere with the exercise of voting rights, including the right to have a vote counted, by circulating intentionally misleading information." It says it supports making political advertising more transparent to our users and the public.

Next steps: Twitter said it will roll out several changes to the actions it takes when it detects spammy or suspicious activity.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Largest 24-hour spike in fatalities

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll from the novel coronavirus surged to its highest one-day total on Tuesday, as the U.S. saw its largest 24-hour spike in fatalities, per Johns Hopkins data. Recorded deaths across the U.S. surpassed 12,900 early Wednesday.

Why it matters: State officials have stressed that lockdowns must continue even if cities begin to see slight improvements from social distancing. Several hot spots, including New York, New Orleans, and Detroit, are expected to peak in the coming days.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 9 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 1,430,453 — Total deaths: 82,133 — Total recoveries: 301,385Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 a.m. ET: 399,081 — Total deaths: 12,907 — Total recoveries: 22,461Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Acting Navy secretary resigns over handling of virus-infected ship — Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill — Trump said he "didn't see" memos from his trade adviser Peter Navarro warning that the crisis could kill more than half a million Americans.
  4. States latest: California Gov. Gavin Newsom is confident that more than 200 million masks will be delivered to the state "at a monthly basis starting in the next few weeks."
  5. Business latest: America's food heroes in times of the coronavirus crisis. Even when the economy comes back to life, huge questions for airlines will remain.
  6. World updates: China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown.
  7. 2020 latest: Polls for Wisconsin's primary elections closed at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday, but results won't be released until April 13. Thousands of residents cast ballots in person.
  8. 1 Olympics thing: About 6,500 athletes who qualified for the Tokyo Games will keep their spots in 2021.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

African Americans are disproportionately dying from coronavirus

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams at a Coronavirus Task Force Press news briefing. Photo: Michael Brochstein/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has highlighted the disproportionate impact the novel coronavirus is having on African American communities, telling CBS Tuesday "many black Americans are at higher risk for COVID."

Driving the news: Several states and cities have reported that African Americans are dying from the virus at higher rates than any other racial demographic. Not all agencies have released a breakdown of data, but the virus is spiking in cities with large African American populations, including New York, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee and New Orleans.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health