Twitter says it removed fake accounts from Iran, Russia, Venezuela and Bangladesh

Thousands of "malicious" accounts have been removed.

January 31, 2019, 4:55 PM

Twitter on Thursday said it has deleted thousands of fake accounts from Iran, Russia, Venezuela and Bangladesh. In addition the company released information about behavior on the platform related to the 2018 U.S. midterm elections.

More than 1,000 accounts located in Venezuela were engaged in a "state-backed influence campaign" targeting Venezuelans, the social media company wrote in a post on its website.

The company also said it had "identified and suspended 2,617 additional malicious accounts" in Iran.

By last September, Twitter had taken down 3,843 accounts it linked to the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA).

On Thursday, the company said it deleted an additional 418 Russian accounts that seemed similar to the ones previously traced to the IRA. The company said it removed the majority before the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. The accounts posted close to 929,000 tweets, 81 percent of which were in English, Twitter said.

The most common hashtags were #MAGA (included in approximately 38,000 Tweets), #ReleasetheMemo (included in approximately 38,000 Tweets) and #IslamisTheProblem (included in approximately 18,000 Tweets).

Twitter also removed "nearly 6,000 Tweets we identified as attempted voter suppression," the company said. One example of a banished tweet urged Republicans to vote on Nov. 7. The election was Nov. 6.

Facebook also announced on Thursday it took down "783 pages, groups and accounts for engaging in coordinated inauthentic behavior tied to Iran," in a post on its website.

Facebook shared information about the suspicious activity with Twitter, the company's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, told reporters on a conference call. The company took down fake posts from Facebook and Instagram but said it did not find similar activity on its WhatsApp platform, Gleicher said.

Gleicher sidestepped questions about dubious behavior from Venezuela.

Information that allowed Facebook to find these inauthentic accounts came from Twitter, as it shared information about similar accounts on its platform. Facebook in turn shared all its findings with Twitter, Gleicher said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

ABC News’ Fergal P. Gallagher, Dennis Powell and Lee Ferran contributed to this report.

Related Topics