Twitter removes more than 170,000 pro-China accounts

Twitter has removed more than 170,000 accounts it says were tied to an operation to spread pro-China messages.

Some of those posts were about the coronavirus outbreak, the social media platform has announced.

The company said “a core network” of 23,750 highly active accounts had been deleted, along with another 150,000 “amplifier accounts”.

Twitter also revealed it has shut down more than a thousand Russia-based misinformation accounts.

The firm said the Chinese network, which was based in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), had links to an earlier state-backed operation it broke up alongside Facebook and YouTube last year.

The US-based messaging platform added that it had been “thoroughly studying and investigating past coordinated information operations from the PRC.”

While the 23,750 accounts were the main focus, 150,000 accounts were identified as helping to boost the messages online.

Twitter said the two interconnected sets of accounts were caught early and typically had very few followers with low levels of engagement.

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