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Twitter shutters anti-Turkey Saudi, Egyptian accounts

More than 20,000 inauthentic accounts removed for promoting governments, leaders

Servet Gunerigok   | 02.04.2020
Twitter shutters anti-Turkey Saudi, Egyptian accounts


Twitter said Thursday it shut down thousands of accounts linked to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, several of which were involved in a smear campaign critical of Turkey and the Turkish government.

"Transparency is fundamental to the work we do at Twitter. Today, we’re updating our archive of state-backed information operations with some recent account networks we’ve removed from our service," said the micro-blogging site.

It took down 2,541 accounts on an Egypt-based network known as the El Fagr that it said was used in part to target Turkey.

"The media group created inauthentic accounts to amplify messaging critical of Iran, Qatar and Turkey. Information we gained externally indicates it was taking direction from the Egyptian government," said Twitter.

Also, the company removed 5,350 accounts linked to Saudi Arabia operating from multiple countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

The accounts "were amplifying content praising Saudi leadership, and critical of Qatar and Turkish activity in Yemen," said the company.

Additionally, the site found "many inauthentic accounts" accessing from a single IP range in Honduras, which heavily retweets President Juan Jose Orlando Hernandez’s account.

"We removed 3,104 accounts when it became clear a staffer created the fake accounts on the government’s behalf," it said.

As for Indonesia, Twitter shut down 795 fake accounts "pushing content from suspicious 'news' websites and promoting pro-government content" following a report by the Bellingcat investigative website.

In late 2019, the site identified "clusters of accounts engaged in inauthentic coordinated activity" and removed 8,558 accounts working to promote Serbia’s ruling party and its leader, Aleksandar Vucic.

"These behaviors are in violation of our policies and are a targeted attempt to undermine the public conversation," Twitter concluded.

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