Twitter Inc. has suspended thousands of accounts engaged in state-backed influence campaigns originating in Iran, Russia, Spain and Venezuela as it tries to purge the social media site of bad actors.
The accounts, including almost 2,000 new ones from Iran and four believed to be linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, will be added to the digital archive Twitter established last year for researchers. On Thursday, Twitter said it’s adding six new datasets to the archive.
The news comes as social media platforms seek to prevent election meddling around the globe. In the U.S., lawmakers are seeking to regulate the tech platforms after foreign influence campaigns were active during elections in 2016 and 2018. Twitter’s archive aims to give researchers insight into the size, scope and method of state-backed information operations.
The new data archive includes three sets of accounts, totaling 4,779, from Iran, which Twitter said all were associated with or directly backed by the Iranian government, and some of which were involved with discussions related to Israel. Four accounts were believed to be associated with the Internet Research Agency, the Kremlin-backed group that disrupted the 2016 U.S. election.
Twitter also added to the archive 130 accounts associated with the Catalan independence movement in Spain and 33 accounts originating in Venezuela focused on "platform manipulation" outside of the country.