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Twitter Removes 2nd Batch Of Iranian Accounts Linked To 2020 US Election Interference

March 15th, 2021 11:56

Twit­ter has announced the removal of the sec­ond batch of Iran­ian accounts in con­nec­tion with attempts to dis­rupt the pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion dur­ing the first 2020 US Pres­i­den­tial debate. Accord­ing to the  press release, the action rep­re­sents the sec­ond stage in an inves­ti­ga­tion based on infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by the FBI:

Feb­ru­ary 23, 2021 After the final inves­ti­ga­tion was com­plete, we have sus­pend­ed a total of 238 accounts oper­at­ing from Iran for var­i­ous vio­la­tions of our plat­form manip­u­la­tion poli­cies. As pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed, the accounts had low engage­ment and did not make an impact on the pub­lic con­ver­sa­tion. Today, we’re adding these accounts to the archive to empow­er inde­pen­dent research and analysis.

US media had report­ed in Octo­ber 2020 on the removal of the first batch of 130 fake accounts.

Pre­vi­ous report­ing by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) on Iran­ian attempts to car­ry out influ­ence oper­a­tions dur­ing the 2020 US elec­tions cam­paign has included:

  • An Octo­ber 2020 report that the Iran­ian group Phos­pho­rus was behind a failed attempt to breach accounts con­nect­ed with Pres­i­dent Trump’s re-elec­tion cam­paign, as well as the accounts of jour­nal­ists and U.S. officials.=
  • An Octo­ber 2020 report that the US Trea­sury des­ig­nat­ed five Iran­ian enti­ties said to have been involved in the Iran­ian regime’s attempts to influ­ence the US elections.
  • An Octo­ber 2020 report that accord­ing to nation­al secu­ri­ty offi­cials, Iran stood behind send­ing vot­ers fake emails intend­ed to look like a far-right, pro-Trump group had sent them.
  • A Jan­u­ary 2021 report that accord­ing to the FBI, Iran­ian “cyber actors” were most like­ly behind the cre­ation of a web­site that con­tained death threats aimed at U.S. elec­tion officials.