Twitter closes thousands of fake news accounts worldwide

WASHINGTON: Twitter said on Friday it has closed down thousands of accounts across the world for spreading fake news as well as pro-government propaganda.

Accounts coming from China seeking to sow discord among protesters in Hong Kong were closed down, as were accounts amplifying a pro-Saudi message coming from Egypt and the United Arab Emirates directed at Qatar and Yemen, Twitter said.

Transparency is part of our DNA at Twitter. Today, we’re updating our archive of state-backed information operations we’ve removed from our service. Read our latest blog here:

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) September 20, 2019

Fake news accounts were also suspended in Spain and Ecuador.

The information release is part of the company’s push to improve understanding of how its platform is used by state actors to manipulate public opinion.

Twitter said they had identified 4,302 accounts based in China “attempting to sow discord about the protest movement in Hong Kong.”

This follows the identification in August of more than 200,000 fake accounts in China engaged in fueling public discord in Hong Kong.

The announcement follows Facebook’s removing fake accounts based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE last month for posting misinformation about regional hotspots including Libya, Sudan and Yemen.

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