After the Democratic party found misleading tweets that appeared to make it seem they were trying to convince people to not vote in the upcoming election, a Twitter spokesman said that the company has taken “action”.
The spokesman said: “We took action on relevant accounts and activity on Twitter.”
It appears that the removals had taken place near the end of September and the beginning of October.
A source close to the Democrats told Reuters that Twitter had subsequently removed over 10,000 accounts.
This is a significantly lower number than previous purges by Twitter who had removed millions of accounts that it determined took part in spreading false information during the 2016 presidential election.
Despite the lower numbers in removal, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is hailing this as a victory.
The DCCC had created a campaign this year in order to try to hold Twitter and other social media platforms to account for their previous lack of response to negative and false information that was posted on their sites about their former presidential candidate Hilary Clinton and other 2016 candidates.
The Democrats are hoping that by flagging accounts that are spreading misinformation, that they will see more progress in social media’s reaction speed.
One of the recent tweets that were plagued by the Democrats were messages to men.
It told them that they should not vote because they would drown out the voices of women voters.
They were able to find these messages due to the party creating its own system that identifies and reports malicious automated accounts.
This system is part of publicly available tools called “Hoaxley” and “Bolometer” that were developed by computer researchers at the University of Indiana.
They allow users to identify automated accounts and further analyse how they are spreading information about a specific topic.
Professor of informatics and computer science at the University of Indiana Filippo Menacer said: “We made Hoaxley and Botometer free for anyone to use because people deserve to know what’s a bot and what’s not.”
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) also works with a group of contractors and other partners that all work to try to identify misinformation campaigns as quickly as possible.
One of these partners includes RoBhat Labs who develops technology that can identify bots and what the political-bias is in the message.
According to DNC Chief Technology Officer Raffi Krikorian, the partnership with RoBhat has helped lead to the discovery of many malicious social media accounts that are then reported to the companies.
He did not say if these flagged posts were subsequently removed by Twitter.
Co-founder of RoBhat Labs Ash Bhat said: “We provide the DNC with reports about what we’re seeing in terms of bot activity and where it’s being amplified.
“We can’t tell you who’s behind these different operations, Twitter hides that from us, but with the technology, you know when and how it’s happening.”