False news and misinformation was a key strategy of the Russians during the 2016 presidential election to sway voters against candidates and sow distrust and mistrust.
Now, just weeks before the 2018 midterm elections, researchers say something is almost as bad.
Research by the Knight Foundation on Thursday revealed that more than 80 percent of Twitter accounts that repeatedly distributed false information during the 2016 election are "still active" and in some cases more are Pushed as a million tweets a day.
The Foundation examined more than 10 million tweets from 700,000 accounts connected to over 600 misleading websites and conspiracy theories. The researchers found 6.6 million of these tweets in the month before the 201
While this is a decline, there is still more false news than anyone else
"Our democracy is based on access to news and information that we can trust," said Sam Gill, vice president of the Knight Foundation for Communities and effects. "Right now, the discussion about online misinformation is based on fear and conventional wisdom."
"That's not good enough," he said.
Twitter tried last year to clean up after the 2016 elections Legislators blamed the social media company for not doing more to protect voters from misinformation. The 330 million-user company has stamped tens of millions of accounts for misinformation and suspicious content distribution over the past year.
But even CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that Twitter had "not figured out" how to stamp fake messages on the site.
When he was reached, Del Harvey, Twitter's Global Vice President for Security and Trust, disagreed with the findings:
"First, this study was created using our public API and therefore does not require consideration of all measures, We do this to remove automated or spammy content and accounts that people display on Twitter – we do it proactively and to scale, every day, and secondly, as a uniquely open service, Twitter is an important source of real-time antidote to everyday untruths. We are proud of this use case and are working diligently to ensure that we present context and different perspectives to people as they engage in civil debates and discussions about our ministry. "
The Knight Foundation criticized Twitter for claiming that they were be persistent automated and "spammy" accounts, and said that "so many easily identifiable abusive accounts is difficult to unify with any effective raid."
According to their findings, the researchers said that the accounts were tightly interconnected, described as a "disinformation supercluster". The accounts participate in "coordinated campaigns to spread fake news" by tweeting links to just a handful of fake news sites.
"The core of this network continues to be very active as this report goes to press." The researchers said. "Both before and after the election, most Twitter links focus on fake messages on a few dozen sites, and these top fake and conspiracy sites are largely stable."
"Reducing social media viewers from just a dozen of the most commonly linked counterfeits and conspiracy sites could dramatically reduce fake messages on Twitter," they concluded.