Twitter has been aggressively suspending false accounts in a bid to curtail the spread of fake news. The company’s massive crackdown on trolls and bots have resulted in one million dubious accounts being deleted or suspended per day.
According to the Washington Post, Twitter has been coming down hard on fake accounts, trolls, and bots since late last year. The purge of these accounts was reportedly brought about when testimonies from Google and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter revealed that millions more Americans were exposed to fake news than previously estimated.
Fake Accounts But Real Damage
Fake accounts with links to Russia are said to have tweeted false information in an attempt to affect the 2016 US presidential elections. This disinformation campaign involved a troll factory based in St. Petersberg that used state-of-the-art technology to fool voters and exacerbate the tension in the already worsening political and social environment.
Data compiled by the Post revealed that Twitter got rid of more than a million accounts per day in the past several months. The company reportedly suspended 70 million or more accounts in May and June. The purge apparently continued until July.
Twitter suspended about 70 million accounts it deemed as fake or suspicious over the past 2 months https://t.co/2yyn78Kmhn
— TheBlaze (@theblaze) July 8, 2018
Twitter’s aggressive steps to shut down these malicious accounts could lead to a major backlash against the company as it could result in a decline in monthly users. But the company appears unfazed as it continues its campaign against the bots and trolls responsible for the propagation of false news.
Taking a Stand Against Fakes
Twitter has repeatedly garnered criticism for failing to control the spread of bots and trolls that were created with the sole purpose of spreading disinformation. But the social media platform’s new and harsher stand against fraudulent accounts shows a clear shift in the company’s ideology. Twitter had previously refrained from checking possible abuses with regards to tweets due to free speech.
The company’s Vice President for Trust and Safety, Del Harvey, revealed to the Washington Post that they are changing their stand on “balancing free expression versus the potential for free expression to chill someone else’s speech. Free expression doesn’t mean much if people don’t feel safe,” Harvey explained.
While a lot of Twitter users applaud the company’s move to delete fake accounts, President Donald Trump has taken to the platform to tweet about getting rid of the accounts of news organizations like the New York Times and the Washington Post.
Twitter is getting rid of fake accounts at a record pace. Will that include the Failing New York Times and propaganda machine for Amazon, the Washington Post, who constantly quote anonymous sources that, in my opinion, don’t exist – They will both be out of business in 7 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 7, 2018
While the two companies’ accounts are legitimate, Trump has been blaming them for the spread of fake news or at least news that paints him in a negative light.
[Featured image via Pixabay]