Information emanating from the Washington post suggests that twitter has now suspended one million accounts (figures could be much higher) it terms as ‘dubious’ in an aggressive bid to stem the flow of false information or fake news as U.S President Donald Trump and Nigerian Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed likes to call it.
In what could be termed as a ‘purge’, the social media platform has more than doubled its crackdown rate since late last year when testimony from Twitter, Facebook and Google revealed startling new data showing millions of Americans were exposed to fake news more than was previously thought.
This purge however is not unconnected with the Democrat backed probe of possible Russian influence in the 2016 U.S Presidential election that saw Donald Trump defeat America’s sweetheart, Hillary Clinton.
It is believed that there are several million Russia-linked fake accounts firing off false tweets in an effort to sway American public opinion even after the 2016 US presidential election.
In recent years Twitter, which has some 336 million active users, has faced sharp criticism for allegedly not doing enough to control the proliferation of bots and trolls created to spread disinformation.
The latest crackdown on these accounts represents what can be termed as an ideological shift in the tech company which had long abstained from policing potential abuses of the platform in the name of free speech.
Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president for trust and safety, says the company is changing “how we think about balancing free expression versus the potential for free expression to chill someone else’s speech. Free expression doesn’t really mean much if people don’t feel safe,”
United States President Donald Trump who is known for his ardent use of the social media app has questioned whether the company would also target major legitimate news sources in its drive to root out false information.
He tweets… “Twitter is getting rid of fake accounts at a record pace, will that include the Failing New York Times and propaganda machine for Amazon, the Washington Post, who constantly quote anonymous sources that, in my opinion, don’t exist. They will both be out of business in 7 years!”
This latest action however does not affect users of the social media app in the United States Alone but also in other parts of the world.
Nigerian twitter space for instance has witnessed massive, suspension and outright closure of thousands of twitter accounts, some created as far back as 2011 with a large follower base.
These days it is not unusual for a twitter user to have to prove he/she is not a robot sometimes as much as five times a day.