Transparency is at the heart of everything we do at Twitter. That’s why we routinely disclose datasets of information operations we can reliably link to state actors.
These datasets live in our public archive of state-backed information operations – the largest of its kind in the industry. First launched in October 2018, the archive has been accessed by thousands of researchers from around the world, who in turn have conducted independent, third-party investigations of their own.
State-backed information operations originating in Saudi Arabia
Today, we are sharing comprehensive data about 5,929 accounts which we have removed for violating our platform manipulation policies. Rigorous investigations by our Site Integrity team have allowed us to attribute these accounts to a significant state-backed information operation on Twitter originating in Saudi Arabia.
These accounts represent the core portion of a larger network of more than 88,000 accounts engaged in spammy behaviour across a wide range of topics. We have permanently suspended all of these accounts from the service. In order to protect the privacy of potentially compromised accounts repurposed to engage in platform manipulation, and in response to researcher feedback requesting that we pre-filter unrelated spam, we have not disclosed data for all 88,000 accounts. In the interest of offering meaningful transparency, the dataset we are disclosing includes a representative, random sample of the fake and spammy accounts associated with this broader network.
We have also shared information about this activity with our peer companies to enable investigations of related activity on their services, and the relevant law enforcement entities.
Here are some additional distinct features of the accounts we’re disclosing today:
We exist to serve the public conversation around the world. To this end, we’ll continue to take strong enforcement action against any state-backed information campaigns which undermine our company’s mission, principles, and policies.
For more information on the processes and principles behind this work, see here.