Conservatives cry 'conspiracy' over Russian bot Twitter purge

  • Conservatives cry 'conspiracy' over Russian bot Twitter purge

Conservatives cry 'conspiracy' over Russian bot Twitter purge

Many users are also reporting they lost significant numbers of followers leading to speculation that Twitter has been systematically purging bot accounts overnight. "That's why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks", a Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider.

In a blog post announcing the new limits, Twitter's head of API (application program interface) policy and product trust Yoel Roth said the company's actions are "an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter-including elections in the United States and around the world". The hashtag #TwitterLockOut was trending in the USA, meaning thousands of accounts were tweeting about it. Other users said they received messages from Twitter asking them to confirm they were real people before being allowed to keep using the service.

"As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse", Twitter's statement said. "Note that when an account is locked and being challenged to provide a phone number, it is removed from follower counts until it provides a phone number". Neither is posting multiple updates (from any number of accounts) to a trending topic "with an intent to subvert or manipulate the topic, or to artificially inflate the prominence of a hashtag or topic". Russian-linked Twitter bots shared Donald Trump's tweets nearly half a million times during the final months of the 2016 presidential election. Accounts have disappeared as Twitter faces growing scrutiny about fake accounts and the shadowy firms that peddle fake followers.

White nationalist Jared Taylor sued Twitter on Tuesday for banning him from the service in December, claiming the company is discriminating against him for his political views.

From the liberal side of Twitter, the response was mixed.

Some of the more rabid elements of conservative Twitter have reacted with incredulity, claiming they have lost hundreds of followers who, like them, have been targeted for their cutting-edge commentary and off-beat political polemics. For some Twitter users the Russian influence is clear.