Twitter takes down thousands of accounts linked to Saudi Arabia

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Twitter has removed thousands of accounts linked to Saudi Arabia on the grounds they were violating the social media’s platform manipulation policies, it said today.

“Accounts were amplifying messages favorable to Saudi authorities, mainly through inauthentic engagement tactics such as aggressive liking, retweeting and replying,” Twitter said in a blog post.

The company disclosed Friday data about 6,000 accounts linked to Saudi Arabia, which are part a larger network of more than 88,000. All the accounts were permanently removed from the platform.

Twitter’s investigations traced the source of the coordinated platform manipulation to a Saudi-based social media marketing and management company called Smaat. The company also managed Twitter accounts for government departments in the country.

Twitter, Google and Facebook have been under intense scrutiny since the 2016 U.S. presidential election, after it became clear that Russian-backed pages and accounts used the platforms to influence American voters. In October 2018, Twitter started an archive database of state-backed information operations.

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