Twitter publishes tweet trove from 'clumsy' Iran regime campaigns

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Russian and Iranian internet trolls sent more than 10 million Tweets in an effort to spread disinformation and discord in the West, including a day-long blitz on the day of the Brexit vote.

Twitter is releasing all known accounts and posts related to "information operations" dating back to 2016, when it was first learned that foreign operators were using social media to meddle in USA elections.

Twitter released massive datasets today of all accounts and content determined to be related to influence operations conducted on the social media platform since 2016.

Early analysis by the BBC's data journalism team indicates the word "Brexit" was mentioned in 3,789 tweets linked the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA), almost all of which were published on the day of the vote or afterwards.

"We are making this data available with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of these behaviours from researchers and academics around the world", wrote Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's legal, policy and trust and safety lead, and Yoel Roth, head of site integrity.

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It found another 770 Twitter accounts that it traced back to Iran.

From more than 4,500 suspect accounts, 3,841 came from Russian Federation and 770 from Iran. In a preliminary analysis posted on Medium, the online publishing platform, the Lab noted operators from Iran and Russian Federation appeared to have targeted politically polarized groups in order to maximize divisiveness in the United States' political scene.

"The Russian operation was much more skilled".

"The Russian trolls were non-partisan: they tried to inflame everybody, regardless of race, creed, politics, or sexual orientation", the Lab noted, "On many occasions, they pushed both sides of divisive issues". In January, the company notified about 1.4 million users that they had interacted with Russia-linked accounts during the election or had followed those accounts at the time they were suspended.

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