Twitter Doubles The Amount Of People It Says Interacted With Kremlin-Linked Trolls
Twitter previously said 677,775 people in the US interacted with a Kremlin-linked troll campaign during the election. It’s now doubled that number, and notified 1.4 million people that they’ve engaged with the trolls.
by Alex Kantrowitz
Twitter on Wednesday said it notified 1.4 million people in the US that they engaged with Kremlin-linked troll accounts during the 2016 US election. That’s more than double the 677,775 people Twitter initially said it would notify earlier this month.
ImageCredit / Dado Ruvic / Reuters
“We have expanded the number of people notified about interactions with Twitter accounts potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency,” Twitter said in an updated blog post. “Approximately 1.4 million people have now received a notification from Twitter.”
Twitter said the people it notified had either retweeted, quoted, replied to, mentioned, or liked the Internet Research Agency’s content. It also said the updated number includes people who have opted out of most of Twitter’s email updates.
.@twitter just told me that I followed/replied/mentioned/retweeted a Russian bot account. But which one was it?
It’s not saying.
What exactly am I supposed to do with this email?
The update marks yet another hiccup in Twitter’s uneven response to Congress’s concerns over its ability to protect its platform from foreign manipulation. Twitter also said the number of people notified may still grow in time. “As our review continues, we may also email additional users,” the company said. “If and when we do so, we will do our best to keep the public updated.”
Here’s the full update:
We have expanded the number of people notified about interactions with Twitter accounts potentially connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency. Our notice efforts are focused on certain types of interactions, and they will not encompass every person that ever saw this content. Our goal in providing these notifications is to advance public awareness of and engagement with the important issues raised in our blog post, and provide greater transparency to our account holders and the public.
We have now sent notices to Twitter users with an active email address who our records indicate are based in the US and fall into at least one of the following categories:
- People who directly engaged during the election period with the 3,814 IRA-linked accounts we identified, either by Retweeting, quoting, replying to, mentioning, or liking those accounts or content created by those accounts;
- People who were actively following one of the identified IRA-linked accounts at the time those accounts were suspended; and
- People who opt out of receiving most email updates from Twitter and would not have received our initial notice based on their email settings.
Approximately 1.4 million people have now received a notification from Twitter. We will be sending a short survey to a small group of people who received our notification to gain feedback on this process. As our review continues, we may also email additional users. If and when we do so, we will do our best to keep the public updated.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at email@example.com.
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