Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?



Twitter Suspends Accounts Engaged in Manipulation

Twitter this week announced the suspension of a total of 770 accounts for “engaging in coordinated manipulation.”

Twitter this week announced the suspension of a total of 770 accounts for “engaging in coordinated manipulation.”

The suspensions were performed in two waves. One last week, when the social networking platform purged 284 accounts, many of which supposedly originated from Iran, and another this week, when 486 more accounts were kicked for the same reason.

“As with prior investigations, we are committed to engaging with other companies and relevant law enforcement entities. Our goal is to assist investigations into these activities and where possible, we will provide the public with transparency and context on our efforts,” Twitter noted last week.

The micro-blogging platform took action on the accounts after FireEye published a report detailing a large campaign conducted out of Iran focused on influencing the opinions of people in the United States and other countries around the world.

Active since at least 2017, the campaign focuses on anti-Israel, anti-Saudi, and pro-Palestine topics, but also included the distribution of stories regarding U.S. policies favorable to Iran, such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal.

The report triggered reactions from large Internet companies, including Facebook and Google. The former removed 652 pages, groups, and accounts suspected of being tied to Russia and Iran, while the latter blocked 39 YouTube channels and disabled six Blogger and 13 Google+ accounts.

“Since our initial suspensions last Tuesday, we have continued our investigation, further building our understanding of these networks. In addition, we suspended an additional 486 accounts for violating the policies outlined last week. This brings the total suspended to 770,” Twitter said on Tuesday.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The social platform also revealed that fewer than 100 of the 770 suspended accounts claimed to be located in the United States, and many were sharing divisive social commentary. These accounts, however, had tho
usands of followers, on average.

“We identified one advertiser from the newly suspended set that ran $30 in ads in 2017. Those ads did not target the U.S. and the billing address was located outside of Iran. We remain engaged with law enforcement and our peer companies on this issue,” Twitter also said.

In June, Twitter announced a new process designed to improve the detection of spam accounts and bots and also revealed updates to its sign-up process to make it more difficult to register spam accounts. In early August, Duo Security announced a new tool capable of detecting large Twitter botnets.

Related: FireEye: Tech Firms’ Secret Weapon Against Disinformation

Related: Google Blocks Accounts in ‘Influence Operation’ Linked to Iran

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

Click to comment

Daily Briefing Newsletter

Subscribe to the SecurityWeek Email Briefing to stay informed on the latest threats, trends, and technology, along with insightful columns from industry experts.

SecurityWeek’s Threat Detection and Incident Response Summit brings together security practitioners from around the world to share war stories on breaches, APT attacks and threat intelligence.


Securityweek’s CISO Forum will address issues and challenges that are top of mind for today’s security leaders and what the future looks like as chief defenders of the enterprise.


Expert Insights

Related Content


The changing nature of what we still generally call ransomware will continue through 2023, driven by three primary conditions.


Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group informed some customers last week that their online accounts had been breached by hackers.


As it evolves, web3 will contain and increase all the security issues of web2 – and perhaps add a few more.


A recently disclosed vBulletin vulnerability, which had a zero-day status for roughly two days last week, was exploited in a hacker attack targeting the...


Satellite TV giant Dish Network confirmed that a recent outage was the result of a cyberattack and admitted that data was stolen.


Zendesk is informing customers about a data breach that started with an SMS phishing campaign targeting the company’s employees.

Artificial Intelligence

The release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in late 2022 has demonstrated the potential of AI for both good and bad.

Artificial Intelligence

The degree of danger that may be introduced when adversaries start to use AI as an effective weapon of attack rather than a tool...