Twitter Discloses 32,000 Propaganda Accounts Tied to China, Russia and Turkey

The accounts were tied to three distinct influence campaigns, the company said.
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Twitter disclosed on Thursday that it identified and removed thousands of accounts linked to the People's Republic of China, Russia, and Turkey that violated its platform manipulation policies. 

Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Report announced the purge in a blog post, saying that all of the accounts and their content have been permanently removed from the service. 

The accounts were part of three distinct operations originating in the three respective countries, Twitter said in the post. 

The largest of the three networks originated in China. That network consisted of 23,750 core accounts posting "geopolitical narratives favorable to the Communist Party of China." 

A network of 1,152 Russian accounts engaging in "inauthentic, coordinated manner for political ends," such as promoting the United Russia party and attacking political dissidents, was also removed. 

Twitter also detected 7,340 fake and compromised accounts in Turkey that were used to "amplify political narratives favorable to the AK Parti, and demonstrated strong support for President Erdogan."

The broader network surrounding the Turkish accounts was also engaging in commercial activities, such as cryptocurrency-related spam. 

Twitter said part of its objective in making the disclosures is to offer clarity around impression counts and measure the impact of influence campaigns on the public conversation. 

"Ultimately our goal is to serve the public conversation, remove bad faith actors, and to advance public understanding of these critical topics," the company wrote. 

In addition to the core accounts for China, Twitter identified another 150,000 accounts  designed to amplify the content by increasing impressions and user engagement. Those accounts were not immediately removed. Twitter said it needs to "better refine the disclosure process to enable efficient investigation of the core activity," for such accounts.

Twitter shares fell 6% on Thursday to $33.03 and are up 2% year to date.