Twitter Publishes 10 Million Election Meddling Tweets

Tero Vesalainen/

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Twitter has decided to release data sets containing 10 million election meddling tweets, the company announced Wednesday in a blog post.

If you parse the data you will find that these 10 million tweets came from 4,611 accounts, of which 3,841 are linked to Russia's Internet Research Agency. Another 770 accounts are potentially associated with Iran. Also included are 2 million images, GIFs, videos, and Periscope broadcasts.

These aren't just recent tweets either. While a Knight Foundation study released earlier in October found that many of the fake news accounts that caused trouble in 2016 were still going strong in 2018. But some of these tweets date back all the way to 2009.

Why is Twitter opening up this treasure trove of nefarious tweets? The social network needs help analyzing all of the data. It's already sent the data in advance to specific researchers with expertise in the field.

"We strongly believe that this level of transparency can enhance the health of the public conversation on the internet. This is our singular mission," wrote Vijaya Gadde, legal, policy and trust & safety lead for Twitter, and Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of site integrity.

Twitter recently announced new measures it would employ to crack down on malicious tweets. This includes broadening the criteria for why Twitter will give an account the ax. But with the 2018 midterm elections just 20 days away, it might be too late to avoid a very tweet-influenced election.