Twitter has reportedly deleted as many as 10,000 accounts at the request of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, a party group that supports Democrats running for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Social media platform Twitter recently told Reuters in a statement: “We took action on relevant accounts and activity on Twitter,” following the removal of over 10,000 Twitter accounts in September and October. The removal of the accounts is reportedly due to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) a party group that works to help Democrats running for the U.S. House of Representatives.
The DCCC reportedly began working to have social media websites crack down on certain accounts following the spread of “misinformation” about Hillary Clinton and other Democratic candidates during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. Reuters notes that misinformation campaigns running up to the November 6 midterm elections have not been particularly common, Democrats are hoping that their efforts to crack down on social media will help if there is a large amount of social media activity during the final days before the election.
Reuters reports that according to three party sources, DCCC has developed their own system for finding and reporting automated accounts on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. The system used by DCCC implements tools developed by University of Indiana computer researchers called “Hoaxley” and “Botometer” which help to identify and analyze the spread of bot accounts.
Filippo Menczer, professor of informatics and computer science at the University of Indiana, commented on the programs stating: “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 works with multiple contractors to identify misinformation campaigns, one such contractor is RoBhat Labs, a firm which specializes in detecting bots and identifying political-bias in messages.
Ash Bhat, co-founder of RoBhat Labs, commented on the work the firm does with the DNC stating: “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.”