Commentary

Twitter Publishes Trolls' Tweets, Reveals Nature, Source Of Abuses

Shedding more light on mobile media’s shady underbelly, Twitter just published roughly 10 million tweets from trolls around the world.

While the data dump might overwhelm the most experienced marketers, the trove could prove invaluable to researchers and their efforts to make sense of various social-media abuses.

“Independent analysis of this activity by researchers is a key step toward promoting shared understanding of these threats,” Vijaya Gadde and Yoel Roth, Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead and Head of Site Integrity at Twitter, declare in a new blog post.

“We will continue to proactively combat nefarious attempts to undermine the integrity of Twitter, while partnering with civil society, government, industry peers and researchers to improve our collective understanding of coordinated attempts to interfere in the public conversation,” Gadde and Roth vow.

advertisement

advertisement

As Twitter previously made clear, the biggest abuses seem to originate in foreign countries.

The newly released datasets include 3,841 accounts affiliated with the Internet Research Agency (IRA), originating in Russia, and 770 other accounts, potentially originating in Iran, according to Twitter.

They include millions of tweets and more than 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts, including the earliest on-Twitter activity from accounts connected with these campaigns, dating back to 2009.

The release comes months after Twitter promised Congress that it would provide regular updates regarding its investigations into foreign interference in political conversations on its network.

Twitter has since shared examples of these types of content posted on Twitter by the IRA. It's provided the public with a direct notice if they interacted with these accounts.

In August, the company also disclosed details of another attempted influence campaign that it identified as potentially located within Iran.

Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, Twitter said it provided early access to a small group of researchers with specific expertise in these issues.

Of course, Twitter isn’t the only company with a troll problem.

Both Facebook and Google recently deleted hundreds of accounts with suspected ties to the Iranian and Russian governments, while Microsoft foiled another attempt by the Russian government to meddle in the U.S. electoral process.

At the time, Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president-Chief Legal Officer, suggested the problem of foreign actors attempting to meddle with its network was getting worse.
2 comments about "Twitter Publishes Trolls' Tweets, Reveals Nature, Source Of Abuses".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 18, 2018 at 9:57 a.m.

    Selective Memory.  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/sunday-review/russia-isnt-the-only-one-meddling-in-elections-we-do-it-too.html

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 18, 2018 at 5:04 p.m.

    The world would be so much better without the Twits and this company shut down globally. This article just proves it further. $5 Billion for every abuse will do it.

Next story loading loading..