Source: NBC News

Twitter bans over 100 accounts using hashtag #istandwithPutin
The ban was placed for violating Twitter's 'manipulation and spam policy'

Twitter bans more than 100 accounts for violation of policy
Source: Microsoft News

This week, Twitter placed bans on more than hundred accounts on its platform which were using the hashtag ‘#IStandWithPutin’. This usage of this hashtag came in violation of the policy of the social media platform, “manipulation and spam policy.” The news was first reported by NBC. 

The report from NBC mentioned that Twitter initiated the removal of these for taking part in “coordinated inauthentic behaviour.” This came under notice following many of these tweets going viral mysteriously. What came as a shock was that none of the accounts the tweets came from were trending on the platform. They had relatively fewer followers and their display pictures on the profiles were in forms of stock imagery.

As of now, Twitter has not been seen to respond to any one of the requests made for a comment on the situation. However, the company clarified that that the accounts which are using the hashtag are still under investigation. Twitter made the clarification in a statement given on Friday, March 4.

The particular tweets using the hashtag were first noticed by one Owen Jones. An assistant professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar, Jones teaches Middle East Studies and digital humanities at the institution. He commented that he identified many of these accounts showcasing activity which were inauthentic in nature and “astroturfing.”

“They’re not bots. They’re a lot harder to check than that,” Jones told NBC. “Imagine a call center setup. Think of the amount of damage you can do.”
The removal of these accounts by Twitter is an extension of a larger goal of tech companies to target the recent spread of misinformation. Such spreading of misinformations comes in wake of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces. Previously, the social media platform had started putting cautionary labels to certain tweets. The tweets are specifically those from Russia state media outlets, which are also facing restrictions on platforms like Facebook and Youtube. These platforms previously made the decision pull all ads in Russia and ban Russian ads around the world, along with its monetising powers.
Facebook gave a statement on Friday, March 4, saying that owing to the challenges of operating in the country, these ads would be stopped. These are the advertisements that target the citizens in Russia, and advertisers from Russia will not hold the ability anymore to sell ads elsewhere in the world,  along with Russia itself.
Reports on the happenings of Russia emerged on Thursday, March 3. It stated that in retaliation for placing restrictions, Russia had partial blocked access to western sites. The state media channels specified that media sites like Facebook was one these restricted sites.