Twitter notifies 677,000 users about possible exposure to Russian propaganda during 2016 US elections

The shadows of people holding mobile phones are cast onto a backdrop projected with the Twitter logo in this illustration picture taken in Warsaw September 27, 2013 Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Twitter, on 19 January, decided to email 677,775 people in the United States to let them know that during the 2016 US presidential election period, they may have followed, retweeted or liked content from accounts associated with Russia-backed Internet Research Agency (IRA), which is accused of interfering with the election.

The social networking site has identified an additional 1,062 accounts associated with IRA and this brings the number to 3,814, These accounts reportedly posted 175,993 tweets, approximately 8.4 percent of which were election-related.

US Senate committee was informed by Twitter that they are working towards alerting its users who may have come across Kremlin-linked advertisements during the 2016 election.

Appearing before the US Commerce, Science and Technology Committee this week, Carlos Monje, Twitter's Director of US Public Policy, said Twitter would 'inform individually' everyone who saw tweets from accounts linked to IRA.

This news came amidst Twitter's vouch for combating terror-related content on its platform.

"We have also provided Congress with the results of our supplemental analysis into activity believed to be automated, election-related activity originating out of Russia during the election period," Twitter said.

On January 18, Twitter and Facebook said they are working towards alerting their users about Russian propaganda ads. Moreover, Google has also acknowledged that it found evidence that Russian operatives used its platforms to influence American voters.

While Twitter said that it has identified 13,512 additional accounts, for a total of 50,258 automated Russian-linked accounts tweeting about election-related content during the polling period, Google, in a blog post last year, said that it had found 1,108 videos with 43 hours of content related to the Russian effort on YouTube. It also found $4,700 worth of Russian search and display ads.

With inputs from IANS