Twitter has admitted that it mistakenly removed accounts sharing Russian military activity in the midst of the Ukraine invasion. As TechCrunch notes, the deleted accounts, which have since been reinstated, included an aggregator of user-generated posts from Ukraine and accounts owned by people doing open source intelligence investigation (OSINT) to debunk fake news and claims.
While users first blamed mass reporting for the account deletions, Twitter Head of Site Integrity Yoel Roth said it wasn’t a factor at all. Instead, the removals were a result of errors made by human moderators who are proactively addressing manipulated media on the website.
In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson explained to TechCrunch:
“We’ve 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’re expeditiously reviewing these actions and have already proactively reinstated access to a number of affected accounts.”
In addition to proactively monitoring manipulated media coming from the region, Twitter has also responded to the Ukraine crisis with tips on how to secure accounts. Ukraine’s websites have been hit by cyberattacks over the past few weeks, and social media accounts, especially those sharing news and images from the country, might also be targeted.
Twitter Safety has posted a series of tweets in Ukrainian with tips on how to protect accounts with strong passwords and two-factor authentication. It also included links to its support page for those whose accounts had been compromised and for those who got locked out. Twitter has linked users to instructions on how to disable location info and how to remove it from previous tweets, as well. Finally, it’s advising users to deactivate their account if they feel that the safest option is to delete it completely.
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