After Facebook, it is Twitter's turn to address the US Congressional committee on the Russian ads scandal. Twitter disclosed on its blog that it has observed close to 200 Russia-linked accounts which were being used to spread propaganda and misinformation on Twitter. The microblogging site claims that it banned these users.
Twitter says that around 450 accounts that Facebook had disclosed information on, it was found that 22 of those had corresponding Twitter accounts as well. Those accounts had been identified and suspended from Twitter as it violated Twitter's prohibitions against spam.
"In addition, from those accounts we found an additional 179 related or linked accounts, and took action on the ones we found in violation of our rules. Neither the original accounts shared by Facebook, nor the additional related accounts we identified, were registered as advertisers on Twitter," said the blog.
Twitter has named Russia Today, the media organisation which is alleged to have close links with the Russian government, as an account which saw non-coventional activity. According to Twitter, RT spent around $274,000 in the US on advertisements in 2016. "In that year, the @RT_com, @RT_America, and @ActualidadRT accounts promoted 1,823 Tweets that definitely or potentially targeted the US market," said the blog.
Twitter has gone on to say that it does not tolerate violation of its terms of services and US laws. It said that in 2016 elections, tweets which were attempting to suppress or otherwise interfere with the exercise of voting rights were promptly removed.
Commenting on the political advertising disclosures, Twitter said that it believed in making political advertising more transparent to users and the public. It has also promised to work with leaders in Congress to oversee and strengthen guidelines for political advertising on social media.
Making no bones on the topic of spamming, Twitter said that Russia and post-Soviet states have been a major source of automated spam content for many years. But it also added that it was difficult to track spam activity co-ordinated by humans.
Twitter also said that over the coming months, it will introduce new ways to detect malicious activity which will encompass suspicious logins, tweets and engagements. " These are not meant to be definitive solutions. We’ve been fighting against these issues for years, and as long as there are people trying to manipulate Twitter, we will be working hard to stop them," it said.
However, Twitter's disclosures haven't gone down too well with a Democratic senator Mark Warner who called the explanations 'frankly inadequate'.
"The notion that their work was basically derivative, based upon accounts that Facebook had identified, showed an enormous lack of understanding from the Twitter team of how serious this issue is, the threat it poses to democratic institutions, and again, begs many more questions than they [answer]," said Warner while speaking at a press conference according to Recode.