Twitter Tells Congress It Blocked 201 Russian ‘Fake News’ Accounts

Social media giant says 22 of the pro-Russian accounts were tied to banned Facebook profiles

Twitter shared information on more than 200 blocked accounts connected to Russia when it met with congressional investigators on Thursday.

The company was in Washington, D.C. to discuss Russia’s harnessing of social media to meddle in the 2016 election. In a blog post on the social media company’s meeting with the Senate and House intelligence committees, Twitter said it “took action” against 201 accounts tied to a Russian troll farm — including 22 that were linked to Facebook’s recent fake news investigation.

“Of the roughly 450 accounts that Facebook recently shared as a part of their review, we concluded that 22 had corresponding accounts on Twitter. All of those identified accounts had already been or immediately were suspended from Twitter for breaking our rules, most for violating our prohibitions against spam,” Twitter said in the blog post.

“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.”

Earlier this month, Facebook revealed nearly 500 accounts with Russian origins that spent upwards of $100,000 on fake ads before and after the 2016 election. Twitter has continued to be a go-to source for disinformation, with The New York Times reporting on Wednesday the platform was used last weekend by Russian bots to spread hashtags related to the NFL’s national anthem protests.

The company also shared more than $270,000 worth of ads purchased by RT  — the state-owned Russian media outlet that has been under fire to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department — in its meeting with Congress.

Moving forward, Twitter said its updating its tools to weed out fake news, including automation to detect “non-human activity patterns” and spam accounts connected to a single source.