Twitter releases 10M tweets, reveals decade of foreign influence, including Russia's efforts during 2016 election

News by Teri Robinson

A dataset of more than 10 million Tweets released by Twitter Wednesday included a detailed picture of Russia's attempt to influence voters away from Hillary Clinton and, eventually, toward Donald Trump.

A dataset of more than 10 million Tweets released by Twitter Wednesday included a detailed picture of Russia’s attempt to influence voters away from Hillary Clinton and, eventually, toward Donald Trump.

"Our initial disclosures cover two previously disclosed campaigns, and include information from 3,841 accounts believed to be connected to the Russian Internet Research Agency, and 770 accounts believed to originate in Iran," Twitter said in an announcement, noting that the dataset represents the whole of attempted foreign influence leveraging the social media platform for a decade. "These datasets include all public, nondeleted Tweets and media (e.g., images and videos) from accounts we believe are connected to state-backed information operations."

The company said that tweets deleted by users before their accounts were suspended were not included in the datasets and made up "less than one percent of their overall activity."

Twitter said in a blog post that it was releasing the data in an effort to maintain transparency and fulfill a promise to keep both Congress and the public abreast of the findings of its "investigation into foreign interference in political conversations" on the platform.

The company has provided "a small group of researchers with specific expertise in these issues" early access to the data in the hope that independent analysis will promote a shared understanding of threats.

"We are making this data available with the goal of encouraging open research and investigation of these behaviors from researchers and academics around the world," said the post, penned by Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity.

Originally published in scmagazine.com North America.

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