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.