Twitter closes thousands of fake news accounts worldwide

Twitter closes thousands of fake news accounts worldwide

2019-09-20 05:30:00 PM

Twitter closes thousands of fake news accounts worldwide

Twitter said on Friday it shut down thousands of accounts worldwide for spreading misinformation, including some artificially amplifying pro-Saudi messaging as part of a regional propaganda war.

Royal Saudi account cancelledTwitter 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.These accounts were"created and managed" by DotDev, a technology company based in the UAE and Egypt. DotDev did not respond to an AFP request for comment.

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Saudi Arabia, along with the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt, has enforced an economic boycott of Qatar since June 2017, accusing the Gulf nation of links to extremist groups and being too close to Iran.Twitter also notably shut down the account of Saudi royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani.

The close confidante of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who ran Riyadh's media centre and managed an electronic army unabashedly defending its image, was implicated in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018 but was never formally charged.

Twitter also suspended a separate group of 4,258 accounts operating from the UAE, with messaging mainly targeting Qatar and Yemen."These accounts were often employing false personae and tweeting about regional issues," such as the war in Yemen and main agitators in the conflict, Iran-linked Huthi rebels, Twitter's statement said.

The UAE is a key partner in the Saudi-led military coalition fighting the Huthis in Yemen in a five-year conflict that has devastated the country.Six accounts linked to Saudi Arabia's state-run media were also flagged by Twitter for being"engaged in coordinated efforts to amplify messaging that was beneficial to the Saudi government," Twitter said.

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