Twitter said on Friday that it shut down thousands of accounts worldwide for spreading misinformation, including some artificially amplifying pro-Saudi messaging as part of a propaganda war.
The move affected pro-Saudi accounts coming from Egypt and the UAE directed at Qatar and Yemen, Twitter said, as well as others from China seeking to sow discord among protesters in Hong Kong. Additional fake accounts were suspended in Spain and Ecuador, Twitter’s safety team said.
The move is the latest in a series of actions by social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter cracking down on manipulation, often by state-controlled entities disguising their identities.
It follows similar moves by Facebook last month removing fake accounts based in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE for posting misinformation about West Asia hotspots and others involved in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour” focused on Hong Kong. Twitter removed 273 accounts working in concert in “a multi-faceted information operation” to target Saudi rivals Qatar and Iran among other countries, as well as amplify pro-Saudi government messaging.