WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – Twitter has removed nearly 4,800 accounts, accusing them of having ties to the Iranian government in a continuing crackdown on independent voices.
Since October 2018, Twitter has been publishing reports on crackdown, releasing datasets on more than 30 million tweets. The latest report on Thursday discloses that thousands of accounts originating in Iran have been suspended.
"We believe that people and organizations with the advantages of institutional power and which consciously abuse our service are not advancing healthy discourse but are actively working to undermine it,” Twitter said.
More than 1,600 removed accounts sent out nearly 2 million tweets sharing "global news content, often with an angle that benefited the diplomatic and geostrategic views of the Iranian state”, the report said.
In addition, Twitter suspended 248 accounts that "appeared” to be tied to the Iranian government and engaged in public discussions relating to the occupying regime of Israel. The remaining 2,865 accounts "employed a range of false personas to target conversations about political and social issues in Iran and globally”.
In addition to information about Iranian accounts, Twitter’s most recent numbers showed it removed four accounts from Russia.
It also removed 33 accounts in Venezuela that were connected to 764 previously removed accounts.
Some 130 accounts that were included in the report originated in Spain, with the company claiming that they spread misinformation related to the referendum on Catalan independence.
Iran has harshly criticized Twitter and other American companies such as Facebook for blocking the accounts of "real Iranians" but overlooking the "regime change" propaganda spewing out of Washington.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has said the accounts of real Iranians, including TV presenters and students, have been shuttered for allegedly being part of an "influence operation".