Daily Management Review

About 700,000 U.S. Twitter Users Reacted To Kremlin-Linked Trolls, Says Twitter, To Inform Users Directly


Twitter is getting ready to make about 700,000 if its users in the U.S. aware that they had either followed or retweeted or liked posts that were linked to a Kremlin-linked troll account. This was said by the social media company on said Friday.
A Russian government related troll army in St. Petersburg - the Internet Research Agency, was identified by the company last year to having thousands of linked Twitter accounts. The company alleged that it was this agency that allegedly meddled in the U.S. presidential elections of 2016 and fostered chaos and division in the American society.
"Consistent with our commitment to transparency, we are emailing notifications to 677,775 people in the United States who followed one of these accounts or retweeted or liked a Tweet from these accounts during the election period," Twitter said in a blog post announcing the move.
200 accounts linked to that Russian group had been found by Twitter initially. Later on, 2,752 accounts linked to the group were identified by the company, Twitter informed the Congress last fall. Now the total number of linked accounts stands at 3,814 after the social media company found an additional 1,062 linked accounts, Twitter said on Friday. The company said that more than 175,000 tweets were sent all together by all the linked accounts combined.
There were over 50,000 automated accounts that were linked to Russia that essentially tweeted about the presidential elections which have also been found by the company it said. Most of the time, the same computer is used in a network of automated accounts. Such accounts often post the same link and talk about the same point or hashtag at the same time to ensure that the link trends on the platform.
In addition to a few current and former members of the Trump administration, members of the Trump family would also be getting the mails from Twitter.   
An app in the help section of Facebook, which could be used by users to verify whether they have followed any Facebook or Instagram accounts run by the Internet Research Agency, was launched by the social media platform in December. But there are no plans by Facebook as to of now to inform users directly unlike Twitter.
However, these announcements by both the companies apparently were such timed that they coincided with times that they would receive less of attention compared to other times. The Friday before Christmas was the date that Facebook choose to make the announcement. On the other hand, Twitter timed its announcement on the Friday when the majority of the U.S. media and many outside, were intently focused on the potential shutdown of the U.S. government.
Plans of investment in technology to help "detect and mitigate the effect on users of fake, coordinated, and automated account activity" were also announced on Friday by Twitter.

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