News has emerged that over the past few months Twitter may have shut down up to 70 million accounts in a massive purge of suspected fake and suspicious posts.
According to the Washinton Post, the suspensions and shutdowns were part of a continued effort by Twitter to clear up its platform and institute proper quality controls. Many of the accounts that were blocked between May and June are those suspected to have been routinely used by trolls or remotely controlled bots, that contravene Twitter’s terms of service.
The move by Twitter means that the social media company has markedly upped its game in its fight against intentional disinformation.
According to the Post, the rate of account suspensions has more than doubled since October, roughly around a million a day.
The move has been seen in some quarters as a move to combat criticism of widespread alleged abuse of social media on a mass scale to spread fake news and inflate social and political division.
The increased rate of Twitter suspensions have also raised questions about the platforms user base. Twitter has publicly stated that less than 5% of active users were fake accounts, or involved in spam, and that fewer than 8.5% used automation tools to ‘bot’ their accounts.
The cull of accounts is a continuation of the initiative launched In March by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to promote “healthy conversations” on the platform. Twitter subsequently implemented major changes to the algorithms it uses to police bad and miscreant behavior.
While Twitter did not respond to any enquires from other press establishments, including the BBC, a spokesman for Twitter did tell the Washington Post that the story was “nothing new” adding that account suspensions were an evolution of its “ongoing work to improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter.”