Twitter Removes Iran-Linked Accounts Aimed at Disrupting U.S. Presidential Debate

Twitter on Wednesday announced that it removed 130 accounts originating from Iran that were aimed at disrupting the first 2020 U.S. presidential debate.

The accounts, the social media platform reveals, were removed after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alerted it on the suspicious activity.

“Based on intel provided by the @FBI, last night we removed approximately 130 accounts that appeared to originate in Iran. They were attempting to disrupt the public conversation during the first 2020 US Presidential Debate,” Twitter announced.

The social platform also explains that it was able to quickly identify the accounts and remove them. The accounts had low engagement and weren’t able to impact the public conversation.

The company says that, once its investigation into these accounts has been completed, it will publish all of the necessary details on its Transparency portal.

“As standard, the accounts and their content will be published in full once our investigation is complete. We’re providing this notice to keep people updated in real time about our actions. We wish to thank the @FBI for their assistance,” Twitter said.

The removal of these accounts comes roughly one month after Microsoft warned of attempts from state-sponsored threat actors, including Iranian ones, to disrupt the 2020 U.S. presidential elections. Iran responded swiftly, claiming the allegations were absurd.

Last week, Facebook announced that it shut down a network of fake accounts out of China that were aiming at the US presidential race.

In June, Twitter announced the removal of a total of 30,000 state-linked accounts originating from China, Turkey, and Russia that engaged in manipulation.

Over the past couple of weeks, the FBI and CISA issued several alerts to warn of disinformation campaigns aimed hurting the population’s trust in the election results and the security of voting systems.

Related: Security of Post-Election Vote Count Top Worry: US Official

Related: Foreign Threats Loom Ahead of US Presidential Election

Related: 2016 Again? Russia Back to Stirring Chaos in U.S. Election

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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