Twitter removes nearly 3,500 ‘state-backed’ propaganda accounts | Social Media News

Most of the stories were tied to the Chinese Communist Party’s narrative of its treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Twitter says it has removed 3,465 accounts operating as “state-backed information operations” that it linked to six countries: China, Mexico, Russia, Tanzania, Uganda and Venezuela.

Most of the deleted profiles – 2,048 – “amplified Chinese Communist Party narratives” related to the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, the social media giant said in a statement on Thursday. Another 112 deleted accounts were linked to “Changyu Culture”, a private company backed by the Xinjiang regional government.

China has long been accused of human rights abuses against the predominantly Muslim ethnic group, with activists and United Nations rights experts saying at least a million Uyghurs are being held in camps in the remote western region . Activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labor and sterilization.

China denies any human rights abuses in Xinjiang and says its camps are needed to “counter extremism” and provide job training.

In Uganda, Twitter took down the network of 418 accounts “engaged in coordinated inauthentic activity” in support of President Yoweri Museveni and his party, the National Resistance Movement.

Nearly 270 accounts have also been shut down in Tanzania after filing bad faith reports on Twitter targeting members and supporters of FichuaTanzania, a civil rights group.

Twitter also shut down 16 accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company described by critics as a “troll farm” that conducts pro-government online influence campaigns.

“The operation relied on a mix of inauthentic and real accounts to introduce a pro-Russian viewpoint into Central African political discourse,” Twitter said.

Russia has wielded growing influence in the Central African Republic since 2018 when it sent a large contingent of “instructors” to train the army.

“We also removed a network of 50 accounts that attacked the Libyan civilian government and actors who support it, while expressing strong support for Russia’s geopolitical stance in Libya and Syria,” Twitter added.

Banned accounts also include 276 that shared pro-government content in Mexico and “277 Venezuelan accounts that amplified accounts, hashtags and topics in favor of the government and its official narratives.”

Twitter’s decision came a day after Facebook’s parent company Meta said it had shut down more than 500 accounts that were part of a China-linked influence campaign over COVID-19. The accounts promoted claims by a fictional Swiss biologist, Wilson Edwards, that the United States was interfering in efforts to identify the origins of the coronavirus.

Twitter and Facebook are banned in China, but Beijing frequently uses the two US social networks to promote its positions internationally.