Twitter knew Russian troll problem was real in 2015 – and did nothing
Bloobmerg‘s Selina Wang blows the lid off of Putin’s social menia enablers.
In early 2015, a Twitter employee discovered a vast amount of Twitter accounts with IP addresses in Russia and Ukraine. The worker, Leslie Miley, said most of them were inactive or fake but were not deleted at the time. Miley, who was the company’s engineering manager of product safety and security at the time, said efforts to root out spam and manipulation on the platform were slowed down by the company’s growth team, which focused on increasing users and revenue.
“Anything we would do that would slow down signups, delete accounts, or remove accounts had to go through the growth team,” Miley said. “They were more concerned with growth numbers than fake and compromised accounts.”
Twitter has revealed that more than 36,000 Russian-linked accounts generated about 1.4 million automated, election-related Tweets. It identified almost 3,000 accounts associated with the Russian pro-Kremlin Internet Research Agency, more than 10 times the number it had disclosed a few months before. But few people believe this is a definitive tally.
As one of the Twitterati observed,
Sales was the gatekeeper for security. Got it. Just like in every successful business
— GreatDeceiver (@GreatDece1ver) November 3, 2017
None of this should come as a surprise — after all, it took Twitter well over a year and two suspensions to purge one of the most toxic, sociopathic, racist trolls from the platform (not long after white nationalist social media site Gab launched).