Twitter said On Monday it had suspended 16 accounts linked to the Middle East campaign,media CNET reported. The accounts were suspended for violating the social media company’s platform manipulation policy. “Using technology, manual censorship, and partnerships with researchers and other independent organizations that study these issues, we strive to identify and take action on platform manipulation on our services,” a Twitter spokesman said in a statement. “By the standard, if we have reasonable evidence that any activity is attributed to state-backed information operations, we will disclose them — thoroughly investigated — into our public records.”
According to the Daily Beast, these accounts belong to a network of at least 19 accounts belonging to fictional people who have planted more than 90 comment articles in 46 different publications in the past year, the network first reported after an investigation into its operations. The articles are reported to have generally praised the UAE and called for a tougher stance on Iran from Qatar and Turkey.
The Daily Beast’s investigation found that the opinion articles appeared in conservative publications such as The Washington Examiner, RealClear Markets, American American and The National.
The suspensions are part of Twitter’s efforts to crack down on fake information shared on the platform. Twitter’s fight against disinformation began in 2018, when it deleted more than a million fake accounts.
In June, Twitter announced the permanent deletion of 32,242 accounts that were found to be state-backed operations to spread political propaganda from countries such as Russia and Turkey.
According to the Daily Beast, people on the Middle East propaganda network have fake backstory or forged academic or professional credentials to bolster their credibility, including some pretending to be journalists and others calling themselves “senior analysts in international relations.” The Daily Beast found that they used stolen avatars to avoid reverse image detection and to amplify each other’s work.