It's no secret that Twitter is replete with fake accounts meant to spread misinformation and generate millions of spam clicks on the platform, among other abusive activities. The micro-blogging site did not lack for efforts to battle the proliferation of botnets and fake profiles on its platform. Over the last two months, that effort reached an unprecedented level.
The Washington Post reports that Twitter has suspended more than 70 million accounts it deemed fake in May and June alone, with the momentum continuing this month. The report notes that the figure is more than twice the pace of suspension since October last year when Twitter disclosed how Russia manipulated the platform to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential elections using botnets. Earlier this year, Twitter sent emails to those who followed and retweeted Russian bots.
While the aggressive policy to clamp down on misbehavior might affect the growth of its user base, Twitter doesn't seem to mind any drop in the figure if it means ridding its ecosystem of abuse and providing a healthy conversation to the majority of its users.
Twitter’s Vice President for Trust and Safety Del Harvey said the company is shifting the way it strikes a balance between promoting free expression and maintaining safety for users. She said in an interview:
One of the biggest shifts is in how we think about balancing free expression versus the potential for free expression to chill someone else’s speech. Free expression doesn’t really mean much if people don’t feel safe.
Citing sources privy to Twitter's internal efforts, The Post revealed that the social networking company used a secret tool called "Operation Megaphone" to buy fake accounts and investigate their connections. While details about that particular effort remain largely unconfirmed, it is understood that the recent policy changes are meant to comply with Congress' call for a probe on the Russian bot campaign.
Source: The Washington Post