Twitter removes Iran-linked accounts during US presidential debate

Twitter removes Iran-linked accounts during US presidential debate
The social media giant said it removed more than 100 accounts linked to the Islamic Republic attempting to 'disrupt the public conversation'.
2 min read
01 October, 2020
Twitter removed thousands of 'inauthentic' Saudi and Egyptian accounts earlier this year [Getty]
Twitter said on Wednesday it had removed nearly 130 accounts "attempting to disrupt the public conversation" during this week's US presidential debate.

The social media accounts all appeared to originate in Iran and were identified based on intelligence from the FBI, Twitter said in a statement.

"They had very low engagement and did not make an impact on the public conversation. Our capacity and speed continue to grow, and we'll remain vigilant," the social media giant said.

The removals come as a part of Twitter's wider stategy to tackle disinformation online.

In April, the micro-blogging site said it had removed more than 5,000 Saudi accounts and around 2,500 Egyptian accounts it said were involved in pushing pro-government messaging.

The Egyptian accounts "amplified messaging critical of Iran, Qatar and Turkey", Twitter said.

"Information we gained externally indicates it was taking direction from the Egyptian government," it added.

Last year, Twitter removed nearly 5,000 accounts it said were linked to the Iranian government.

Animosity between the United States and the Islamic republic has soared under the Trump administration, particularly after Washington's withdrawal from an historic nuclear agreement in 2018.

Since then, President Donald Trump has reimposed sanctions on Tehran and pushed to see Europe and the United Nations follow in the same footsteps. 

A series of sabotage attacks blamed on Tehran on oil infrastructure in the Gulf and rocket attacks on US bases in Iraq by Iran-linked militias have seen the two nations come close to clashing. 

Trump faced off against former Vice President Joe Biden in the first presidential debate of the 2020 election on Tuesday evening. 

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