Twitter roots out more than 1-million fake and dubious accounts a day
San Francisco — Twitter has been suspending more than 1-million fake and dubious accounts a day, according to The Washington Post, in an aggressive bid to stem the flow of false information.
The social media platform had more than doubled its crackdown rate since late in 2017, the newspaper said, when testimony from Twitter, Facebook and Google revealed startling new data showing many more millions of Americans were exposed to fake news than previously thought.
Russia-linked fake accounts are believed to have fired off false tweets in an effort to sway the 2016 US presidential vote.
Twitter, which has about 336-million active users, has faced criticism for allegedly not doing enough to control the proliferation of bots and trolls created to spread disinformation. The new offensive against such accounts represents an ideological shift in the tech company; it had long abstained from policing potential abuses of the platform in the name of free speech.
Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice-president for trust and safety, told the Post: "We are changing how we think about 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."
Twitter fan Donald Trump meanwhile questioned whether the San Francisco-based company would also target major legitimate news sources in its drive to root out false information.
"Twitter is getting rid of fake accounts at a record pace," the US president tweeted. "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 seven years!"