Twitter will tell Congress that 36,000 Russia-linked accounts generated 1.4 million tweets during the election
Twitter and Facebook will tell Congress this week that Russia’s election meddling on their platforms was wider than originally reported.
Twitter will say that over 30,000 Russia-linked accounts generated 1.4 million tweets during the campaign.
Facebook will say that nearly 126 million people were exposed to content tied to Russia-linked accounts.
Twitter will tell Congress this week that Russia-linked accounts “generated approximately 1.4 million automated, election-related tweets, which collectively received approximately 288 million impressions” during the 2016 election.
In a portion of the prepared testimony, which was obtained by Business Insider on Monday, Twitter’s acting general counsel Sean Edgett wrote that the company began its review “with a universe of over 16 billion tweets — the total volume of original tweets on our platform during the relevant period.”
“Applying the methodology described above, and using detection tools we currently have in place, we identified 36,746 accounts that generated automated, election-related content and had at least one of the characteristics we used to associate an account with Russia,” the testimony continued.
“During the relevant period, those accounts generated approximately 1.4 million automated, election-related Tweets, which collectively received approximately 288 million impressions,” it said. The company emphasized that the 36,000 accounts represented “1/100th of a percent (0.012%) of the total accounts on Twitter at the time.”
By comparison, Facebook will tell Congress that Russia-linked accounts produced approximately 80,000 posts on the platform between 2015-2017 that were seen by about 126 million Americans.
“We estimate that roughly 29 million people were served content in their News Feeds directly from the IRA’s 80,000 posts over the two years,” Facebook counsel Colin Stretch wrote in the testimony obtained by Business Insider. He added that Facebook estimates that “approximately 126 million people may have been served one of their stories at some point during the two-year period.”
The IRA, or the Internet Research Agency, is a Russian “troll factory” that mass-produced disinformation and propaganda on social media during the election.
Twitter wrote in its testimony that it uncovered “more accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency (“IRA”) as a result of our review.”
“We connected the 201 accounts we initially identified with Congressional investigators to broader Russian election-focused activity on Twitter, including the full set of 2,752 accounts that we now believe are associated with the IRA,: the testimony reads.
Roughly nine percent of the tweets from the 2,752 accounts were election-related, Twitter said, and more than 47% of those tweets were automated.
The company said in its prepared remarks that all 2,752 accounts have now been suspended, and that the company is “proactively giving committee investigators the handles of these accounts, and we have taken steps to block future registrations related to these accounts– and we have pledged to Congress that we will inform them as we uncover more related accounts.”
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