Tweets reveal cynical goals of Russia, Iran

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Twitter published a trove of some 10 million tweets that it said were linked to state-backed operations by Russian Federation and Iran, shedding new light on the scale of misinformation campaigns mounted by the two nations, apparently created to influence voters and sow dissension in the United States and elsewhere.

Social network "Twitter" was posted in open access information on more than 3800 accounts, which it believes belong to the Russian "Agency for Internet research", accused of meddling in American elections. IRA allegedly ran information campaigns on several social media platforms to undermine the political process in the 2016 United States presidential election.

To that end, Twitter on Wednesday announced it would make available roughly 10 million tweets and 2 million images, live video and other content that had been created by the Iranian accounts and thousands of other, widely reported online trolls that previously had been tied to Russian Federation.

Experts say the tweet archive shows that both the Iranian and Russian operations started out as campaigns to support their governments at home.

At the beginning of 2018, Twitter revealed its findings into the 2016 U.S. presidential election and its effects on it, widely believed to have been a key player in the unexpected electing of Donald Trump.

The datasets can be downloaded on Twitter's Elections Integrity site.

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"Russia's troll operation primarily targeted Russian speakers, while Iran's focused on pushing regime messaging overseas by promoting aligned websites".

"Content spread from the troll farm accounts was created to capitalize on, and corrupt, genuine political activism". The accounts, such as "Atlanta Online", "Baltimore Online", "Baton Rouge Voice", "Chicago Daily News", and "Dallas Top News" would also include tweet-length news headlines with no link, the report said.

From more than 4,500 suspect accounts, 3,841 came from Russian Federation and 770 from Iran. 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.

In August this year, Twitter also disclosed details of another attempted influence campaign it identified as potentially located within Iran.

"It is clear that information operations and coordinated inauthentic behavior will not cease", Twitter said.