Twitter has removed 4779 profiles that were linked to or directly controlled by the Iranian government. According to the microblogging site, this included accounts that got involved in discussions about Israel or published fake news that worked out favorably for the Iranian state.
Twitter classified the suspended profiles into three groups. The first set includes 1666 accounts from Iran, with which a total of around two million messages have been sent. “The news items were often beneficial to the diplomatic and geostrategic vision of the Iranian state. Such manipulation is a violation of our guidelines,” said Yoel Roth, Twitter Integrity Head, in a blog post.
The second group involved 248 accounts from Iran who immediately got involved in discussions related to Israel. The third and final group consisted of 2865 Iranian profiles of non-existent persons who sent messages about political and social global issues and Iran issues.
In addition to the thousands of Iranian accounts, Twitter also removed 130 Spanish profiles. According to Yoel Roth, these were directly linked to the Catalan independence movement, and in particular to the political party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya. Their main objective was to spread information about the Catalan referendum. “The network included fake accounts that seemed created to influence the conversation in an organic way,” said Roth.
It is not the first time that Twitter removes accounts that run counter to the site’s rules of conduct through tweets. In February, the company announced that it has suspended over 2600 profiles linked to Iran since September 2018, as well as 418 accounts associated with the Russian Internet Research Agency.