Iranian Foreign Minister accuses Twitter of shutting down legitimate accounts

Javad Zarif said that accounts of 'real' Iranians blocked by Twitter include TV presenters, students.

Iran appears to be unhappy with the way Twitter is cracking down on fake accounts as the country's foreign minister has alleged that the microblogging site is shutting down accounts of "real" Iranians while letting anti-government bots to thrive.

Javad Zarif. Image: Getty Images

Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. Image: Getty Images

Addressing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on 16 September said that the accounts of "real" Iranians blocked by Twitter include those of some TV presenters and students, CNET reported.

"Hello @Jack. Twitter has shuttered accounts of real Iranians, (including) TV presenters & students, for supposedly being part of an 'influence op,'" Zarif wrote in a tweet.

"How about looking at actual bots in Tirana used to prop up 'regime change' propaganda spewed out of DC? #YouAreBots," he went on to say in the same tweet, referencing Albania's capital.

Facebook and Twitter came under the radar of investigators for their alleged failure to prevent the spread of divisive news stories on their platforms in the lead up to the US presidential election in 2016.

The social media giants last month announced they had collectively removed hundreds of inauthentic pages, groups and accounts linked to disinformation campaigns.

Twitter specifically said it had suspended 284 accounts with ties to Iran for "coordinated manipulation", the CNET report said.

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