Twitter has been suspending more than one million fake and dubious accounts per day, as part of a crackdown on malicious activity on its platform, according to a leading daily.
The suspension rate by the social media platform has doubled since October 2017, a report in the The Washington Post said, when testimony from Twitter, Facebook and Google revealed startling new data showing many more millions of Americans were exposed to fake news than previously thought.
Twitter had suspended 70 million accounts in May and June, according to the report.
Twitter, which has some 336 million active users, had been criticised for years for allowing propaganda and bots to flood the feed, particularly during the 2016 US presidential election.
The Post reported that the change in enforcement could lead to a decline in the overall count of users for the company’s second quarter of 2018.
The new offensive against such accounts represents something of an ideological shift in the tech company; it 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, told the Post that 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,” Harvey told the post.
Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump, in a tweet, questioned whether the ongoing effort would also target major legitimate news sources in its drive to root out false information.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
(With inputs from agencies)