Twitter deletes thousands of accounts tied to Iran, seeks to end false info campaigns

Twitter has deleted nearly 4,800 accounts linked to the Iranian government which served to promote state actions without disclosing their political connection. (AP Photo)
Updated 13 June 2019

Twitter deletes thousands of accounts tied to Iran, seeks to end false info campaigns

  • In the latest purge of information, the company said it believes 4,779 accounts were associated or backed by Iran
  • The micro-blogging site also said it had removed and archived four accounts affiliated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency

BENGALURU, India: Twitter Inc. on Thursday said it removed thousands of accounts linked to coordinated, state-backed activities it believes were from the Iranian government and archived them to its public database launched last year.
In the latest purge of information, the company said it believes 4,779 accounts were associated or backed by Iran.
The micro-blogging site also said it had removed and archived four accounts affiliated with the St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, a Russian “troll farm” that has been indicted by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller for attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
It also removed and archived 130 accounts tied to the Catalan independence movement in Spain, and 33 accounts engaged in manipulative behavior related to Venezuela.
Twitter first released the archive of data associated with known state-backed information operations last October to provide more transparency of information and to stem manipulation on its platform.
“Thousands of researchers from across the globe have downloaded datasets, which contain more than 30 million Tweets and over 1 terabyte of media, using our archive to conduct their own investigations and to share their insights and independent analysis with the world,” Twitter said in a blog post.


Experts analyze ‘Deal of the Century’ at Abu Dhabi strategic forum

Updated 26 min 12 sec ago

Experts analyze ‘Deal of the Century’ at Abu Dhabi strategic forum

  • Israeli-Palestinian conflict discussed on second and final day of Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate
  • Washington Institute’s David Makovsky says a solution ‘needs to give dignity to both parties’

ABU DHABI: On the second day of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate, experts on foreign-policy and security issues took part in an exhaustive discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As panelists in a session entitled “The Deal of the Century: Rewriting the Rules of the Regional Game,” they discussed the US role in the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the context of President Donald Trump’s promise during his 2016 election campaign to broker a deal that caters to the demands of both sides.

David Makovsky, Ziegler distinguished fellow and director of the project on Arab-Israel relations at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that for a solution to work, it “needs to give dignity to both parties.”

Referring to the phrase “The deal of the Century,” Makovsky said that it was not coined by the US or the Trump administration, and was in effect first used at a press conference in the Middle East.

While the deal’s political components remain a mystery, Makovsky said the economic elements consisted of “raising around $50 billion from affluent countries in the region, in the form of loans, grants and investments.”

According to him, “most of it will be spent in Palestine, some in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, to support infrastructure and business projects.”

However, the economic elements remain “a part of a package of five core issues” known as the “final status,” said Makovsky.

They include “borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and mutual recognition of the other state,” he added, pointing out that the issues had not yet been fleshed out.

“They are waiting for a new government in Israel but this late in the cycle of the first administration, with US elections coming up in 2020, they will put out a vision and not a plan.”

He said a vision would lay out US ideas in 60 to 70 pages, with the presumption that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would reject it.

“At the minimum, it is a historic reference point,” said Makovsky, who went on to express his disagreement with the “all or nothing” approach taken by the Trump administration with regard to Middle Eastern issues.

“If you say yes on the five issues, you get 178 economic projects. My fear is in the Middle East, when it is all or nothing, it is nothing.”

As part of the same panel discussion, Dr. Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland said previous US administrations, including that of President Barack Obama, had failed to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict simply because “the issue has become less strategically important” to the US.

“Never has a US president since the end of the Cold War made the (Israeli-Palestinian issue) a top priority,” he said.