Twitter gave clarifications on Wednesday regarding its suspension of several accounts that were posting about Russian military movements. The social media platform made it clear that the suspension of the accounts was not in accordance with any coordinated bot campaign or mass reporting of the accounts. The company came clean by saying that the action was purely erroneous. As per the statement given by a Twitter spokesperson,
“We have been proactively monitoring for emerging narratives that are violative of our policies, and, in this instance, we took enforcement action on a number of accounts in error. We are expeditiously reviewing these actions and have already proactively reinstated access to a number of affected accounts.”
The What and Why
The issue between Russia and Ukraine is being under close global scrutiny. With Russia advancing on Ukraine, aggravating the already tense situation, the issue has become all the more sensitive. On Wednesday, a state of emergency was declared by Ukraine asking its citizens in Russia to flee. In addition to this, the Kyiv embassy was evacuated by Moscow taking into account the looming threat and danger of a Russian military onslaught.
Given the sensitivity of the situation, the responsibility held by the social media platforms in propagating relevant information and significant narratives is of utmost importance and something that cannot be taken lightly. This explains Twitter’s swift actions in response to the suspension of over a dozen accounts that were posting content about the Russian military movements.
The issue is being meticulously investigated by Twitter to ensure that the error is clarified at the earliest. The Twitter spokesperson also made it clear in the statement that the erroneous action was in accordance with its rules against manipulated and synthetic data.
Yole Ruth, the site integrity head of Twitter also assured via tweet that the issue was not a result of mass reporting by other users while also underscoring the fact that it was under careful investigation.
“We do not trigger automated enforcements based on report volume, ever, exactly because of how easily gamed that would be.”