Banned Twitter accounts won’t be reinstated until after US midterms | Twitter

Banned Twitter accounts, including Donald Trump’s, won’t be reinstated until at least after the U.S. midterm elections, the platform’s new owner Elon Musk has said.

The Tesla chief executive’s statement comes as a study found that Twitter had taken down six disinformation networks on the China-Iran-linked platform that had tweeted about the Nov. 8 election.

Musk said anyone kicked out of the social media platform for violating content rules would not be allowed to return until a process to do so was put in place, which “would take at least minus a few more weeks”.

Twitter’s new owner added that the recently announced Twitter Content Moderation Board, which will adjudicate on reinstatements and content decisions, will include members of the civil rights community and groups facing violence fueled by the hate.

Twitter will not allow anyone who has been removed from the platform for breaking Twitter’s rules on the platform until we have a clear process to do so, which will take at least a few more weeks.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 2, 2022

Musk said the figures he spoke to included Jonathan Greenblatt of the Anti-Defamation League, Rashad Robinson of the advocacy group Color of Change and Jessica González of the campaign group Free Press.

Among those banned from Twitter are Trump, who was removed from the platform following the US Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, the personal account of Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Meanwhile, a report by the Election Integrity Partnership, a coalition of bodies that fight digital election interference, gave details of six networks linked to China and Iran that had tried to manipulate the platform. Twitter ahead of the midterm elections in the United States.

The six networks, which have now been removed by Twitter, were presented as operating from the United States. They posted 706,000 tweets, although the engagement seems insignificant, with almost 600,000 of those tweets getting no likes.

According to the study, three of the accounts were linked to Iran and focused on left-leaning progressive candidates, while the three China-linked accounts included content about US politicians’ comments on Taiwan and China.

One of the China-linked networks consisted mostly of right-wing accounts referencing talking points such as the “big lie” – a baseless theory that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. An Iran-backed account has also issued endorsements for candidates in negative ballot polls such as county commissioner.

A China-linked network tweeted about US politics through accounts that used fake right-wing and pro-Trump US personas, using colloquial language deployed by online ‘Maga’ communities, including references to elections tricks and to businessman George Soros. The three most liked tweets on this network, with more than 10,000 likes each, included one congratulating Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker on his nomination.

Another China-linked network, which sent 310,000 tweets, including more than 1,100 about Joe Biden’s position on Taiwan as well as remarks about the president’s age and cognitive abilities. The network’s accounts have also downplayed Uyghur human rights abuses in Xinjiang. The report added that the network made “sparse” references to US midterms.

An Iran-linked network used accounts that mimicked the views of “resistance” liberals with hashtags on their bios, including “#Democrat #Resist #antiracist #BLM #LGBTQIA+ #Equality.” Content shared by accounts focused on issues such as Trump and Palestine.

The research was based on data posted by Twitter and was carried out by the Digital Forensic Research Lab – part of the Atlantic Council, a US research group – and Stanford University’s Internet Observatory.

“Despite the relatively small number of engagements these networks have made, operations like these reinforce that foreign interference is ongoing, and that the platform’s integrity teams working alongside researchers to find, assess and disrupt these manipulation operations remain essential to stop them while they are still small,” the study states.

The report was flagged by Twitter’s head of security and integrity, Yoel Roth, who tweeted, “This is exactly what we (or any company) should be doing in the midst of a transition. to reduce opportunities for insider risk. We still enforce our rules broadly.

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