Russian Propaganda Spreads on Twitter


Feb 12th

NK propaganda poster

Hundreds of propaganda videos of Russia had views in the millions on Twitter’s other video based service, Vine for many months after it was well known that it was submitted by a troll Russian propaganda group. Russians have always tried to deluge their way into American politics, and this new uncovered story may just be what we need to start thinking about Twitter’s effort to find and pursue such propaganda content and how well they’ve been doing.

CNN had to be the ones to bring it to Twitter’s attention themselves, before the associated videos and user accounts were removed from the platform. Twitter did not comment to CNN as to why the videos and accounts were up for so long, and why they decided to remove them.

The leading Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner told CNN “he was concerned by the findings and Twitter’s response.”

Mr. Warner went on to say to CNN that “Twitter shouldn’t wait for Congress or anybody else to send a ‘to-do’ list with specific accounts to delete,” and “The company needs to take responsibility and be proactive about stopping Russians and other bad actors who are abusing its platform.”

To me, this is just probably an example of yet again – lazy behavior from the social media giant. This isn’t the first time, a company of this size isn’t able to go through all their content and moderate it all – after all, this last year has been a prime example with the YouTube ad-pocolypse and all their additions to upgrading the algorithms behind appropriate videos which are advertiser friendly – and still, even with all the improvements, YouTube still struggles to weed out all the non-advertiser friendly content from the advertiser friendly content and vice versa. But it isn’t just “advertiser friendliness” that YouTube also struggles with, it would just be even recognizing these kinds of videos without some sort of manual intervention.

But I digress, after all this is Twitter we are talking about. And I mean, Twitter kind of has a reputation for having such content on its site. After all, it has been the number one (in my opinion) social media platform for the likes of ISIS in terms of their propaganda. And it isn’t just one type of propaganda that they get away with or one method. There has been videos of ISIS propaganda, links to propaganda websites, tweets spreading propaganda and accounts made solely for the reason of spreading this propaganda which can sometimes last for months!

Twitter won’t take this as a wakeup call just yet. It will be when advertisers start getting upset at Twitter themselves, and the threat to the social media giant’s business model comes to effect. It seems as if Twitter may have to go through the same fate that YouTube is going through right now, but this seems a lot more manageable in terms of the content that is put out on Twitter and the quantity of said content, in comparison to say – YouTube’s wide, wide reach.

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